AT&T Censorship Update


Update on AT&T’s censorship of criticism in their Terms of Service (Slashdot):

Vox writes “As we discussed here a few days back, AT&T’s Terms of Service has very broad language giving them the right to terminate the account of any AT&T Internet service customer who criticizes the company. Ars Technica notes that such broad language is not unusual in ISPs’ terms of service, and that AT&T told them they won’t be changing the contract. A company spokesman said it’s not a big deal because they have no intent to censor criticism. AT&T claims to respect its subscribers’ right to voice their opinions and says that the contract is aimed at stopping the exploitation of children, and other tangible wrongs. As the article notes, taking the company on faith after the spying scandal is asking maybe a little too much.”

So their official reply is “Its for the children, trust us”?  From the Ars Technica Article:

“AT&T respects its subscribers’ rights to voice their opinions and concerns over any matter they wish.  However, we retain the right to disassociate ourselves from web sites and messages explicitly advocating violence, or any message that poses a threat to children (e.g. child pornography or exploitation),” the spokesperson told Ars Technica. “We do not terminate customer service solely because a customer speaks negatively about AT&T.”

Apparently.  Of course, if that’s the case, why not just specify that in the terms of agreement?  Why not change this:

To recap, in section 5 of its legal ToS, AT&T stipulates the following:

AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice, for conduct that AT&T believes (a) violates the Acceptable Use Policy; (b) constitutes a violation of any law, regulation or tariff (including, without limitation, copyright and intellectual property laws) or a violation of these TOS, or any applicable policies or guidelines, or (c) tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries.

All they need to do is alter subsection (c) to states:

(c) explicitly advocates violence or exploits minors.

Wouldn’t the rest be caught by the “constitutes a violation of any law” subsection?

Which is why their PR rings so hollow.  If that was all they wanted to clamp down on, they’d have specified as such in their terms.  What AT&T wants is the perception that they won’t censor users, while keeping that very option open.

AT&T can say all they want.  Their actions speak louder.


Racist Officer Beats Girl Over Cake

My friend Mishy sent me this.  As Jessica says “This is going to ruin your day” (Feministing):

A young woman of color in Los Angeles had her wrist broken by a school security officer after not cleaning up a piece of dropped birthday cake to his satisfaction. During the attack he said, “hold still nappy head.”

The girl, 16 year-old Pleajhai Mervin, was subsequently expelled and arrested for littering and battery. Because as you can clearly see from the video still above, this teenage girl was battering the shit out a full grown, beefy security guard. Uh huh.

But it gets worse. When the girl’s mother went to the school to complain and rightfully demand that this guard be arrested–she was arrested and suspended from her job with the school district.

My outrage meter is pretty much broken.

Students at the scene captured the assault on their cell phones; one such student was also beaten.

What is this school district thinking?

Students have planned a walk-out in protest. Do your part–spread the word. Oh No a WoC PhD has the contact info for the school and school district office.

Via Women of Color Blog.

Here’s the high school’s site.  And the district’s info:

Antelope Valley Union High School District Office
44811 Sierra Highway
Lancaster, CA 93534
Phone: (661)948-7655 Fax: (661) 726-0673

I’ll end with this from Oh No a WO:

I am asking that everyone send in the official complaint form indicating this incident to both the high school and the school district fax. Please circulate this information including the story, the fax numbers, and the official school district complaint form.

Don’t let this story get buried.

Raise Taxes for the War

This is brilliant (AP):

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats on Tuesday proposed an income tax surcharge to finance the approximately $150 billion annual cost of operations in Iraq, saying it is unfair to pass the cost of the war onto future generations.

“The war will cost future generations billions of dollars in taxes that we’re shoving off on them and it is devouring money that could be used to expand their educational opportunities, expand their job training possibilities, attack our long-term energy problems and build stronger communities,” Obey said.

Hell yeah.  Only problem?

The plan’s sponsors acknowledged it’s unlikely to pass

Please don’t do that.  Talk about it likes its going to past, and drag the Republicans through the mud on this.  This is “fiscal responsibility”, pure and simple.  The Democrats get it, and everyone who would oppose this bill doesn’t, whatever their party.

Americans Want Aggressive Democrats

The new Washington Post/ABC News poll has a clear message for government:

Bush’s approval rating stands at 33 per cent, equal to his career low in Post-ABC poll, but only 29 per cent approve of the job Congress is doing, its lowest approval rating in this poll since November 1995, when Republicans controlled both the House and Senate.

It also represents a 14-point drop since Democrats took control in January.

Overall, 55 per cent of Americans want congressional Democrats to do more to challenge the President’s Iraq policies, while a third think the Democrats have gone too far.

Congress’s approval has gone down since the elections, when we hoped our majority would count for something.

Take a look at the percentages.  That third who think the Democrats have gone too far… Think it has anything to do with the 33 percent who still support Bush?

If we discount that, its 55%/67%, or roughly 82% of non Bush supporters who think the Democrats need to do more on the war.  Let’s face it, Bush supporters are special.  There’s something not quite right with an American who still supports this President.  Why are the Democrats paying any attention to them?  82% of the only people who might actually vote Democratic think they need to go on the offensive.  Why aren’t the Democrats listening?

Trade: Social Security for War Funding

Come on war supporters.  Passing on the bill to future generations?  To my generation?  News flash:  we ain’t paying.

Not for your illegal fuck up.  You ignored the facts and bought Bush’s lies hook line and sinker.  And now you are passing the buck for billions of dollars onto our generations.  We’re not paying your tab.

We’ll take it out of social security.  We’ll take it out of services for the baby boomers.  Wherever we have to.  Because there is no reason my generation should pay in blood and money for the mistakes of our forebears.  That’s what all that talk of personal responsibility gets you, a generation that believes it and holds you to it.

How about we just tax war supporters?  Its your bill, you pay it.