Thursday, June 22, 2006

AT&T Tells Customers: We own your personal records

The San Francisco Chronicle ran an article yesterday about AT&T changing their privacy policy. LINK.

The old privacy policy read: AT&T had the right in regards to customer's personal phone records "to respond to subpoenas, court orders or other legal process, to the extent required and/or permitted by law."

The new privacy policy reads: "may disclose your information in response to subpoenas, court orders, or other legal process." Ominously missing is the phrase "to the extent required and/or permitted by law."

If you don't agree to the new policy, you lose service.

Pulled quote: The policy also indicates that AT&T will track the viewing habits of customers of its new video service -- something that cable and satellite providers are prohibited from doing..."While your account information may be personal to you, these records constitute business records that are owned by AT&T," the new policy declares. "As such, AT&T may disclose such records to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process."

Had a short, if interesting conversation about this with Connors tonight. His thoughts- "I'm ok with that. I feel like if [the NSA] wants to know who I'm talking to and for how long I'm talking- and it helps stop some attack- it's like buying a house for five dollars." That's an interesting point- but you've got to wonder where the people running our nation will draw the line. It would seem certain that what we know of (through whistle blowers) is a very small fraction of the actual war to personal liberties being waged. Warrantless searches (almost certain), web use monitoring, phone tapping, and on.

Just because we can doesn't mean we should. There are other, equally effective ways of protecting Americans that don't leave the Constitution torn to shreds.


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