back to article All hail AT&T! Champion of the open internet and users' privacy!

When AT&T decided at the last minute it was going to join this week's "day of protest" over net neutrality, the reaction ranged from incredulity to bemusement. Here was one of the corporate beasts that had actively and aggressively campaigned against the introduction of America's net neutrality rules, claiming to be in support …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "...the new FCC chair Ajit Pai is setting a dangerous precedent by attempting to simply throw out rules that were passed very recently rather than revise or update them."

    No. What's dangerous is for a departing President to saddle the country with new, onerous regulations by fiat, just because he can. Removing such improper regulations is the minimum acceptable response. If we then want to have a true open debate about those issues before Congress, fine.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      FAIL

      Thanks for illustrating the article's very point!

    2. israel_hands

      No, John. The article is correct. Throwing rules out without analysing why they don't work and moving to fix it is dangerous.

      And your suggestion of throwing out the rules being the "minimum acceptable response" is, frankly, fucking retarded and yet more evidence of your idiotic bias against anything done by someone being-president-while-black.

      The minimum acceptable response is to consider if the rules make sense, and if not then tweak them so they do.

      You, and everyone else, screeching that "Title II isn't appropriate, let congress act" knows full well that repealing Title II with nothing to replace it will effectively mean no regulation and no will in congress to change that while the telcos retain their lobbying power. Which means throwing out some rules that achieve the right result even if they have to take a backdoor solution to do so for no rules at all.

      That's not a better situation. And throwing out rules just because you don't like the people that introduced them demonstrates a complete lack of actual coherent mental processes. It's a knee-jerk reaction and serves no purpose. If you dislike the rules simply because they were written by "the other guy" then, to my mind, you've automatically ruled yourself out of any sensible debate on the subject.

      Logic dictates that you keep the current, imperfect, rules and work to build a replacement that is fit for purpose* and then use that to supersede the current rules. And if the current rules are imperfect but workable, you use that fact and the evidence of a better replacement to force the changes through.

      The exact equivalent of what you're suggesting is saying the murder laws aren't working so fuck it, repeal murder until congress can be bothered to introduce a better law.

      *By which I mean is modelled around achieving an outcome as opposed to regulating a specific business model, which as we've all seen, results in rules becoming rapidly outdated as technology shifts the paradigm.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > "...yet more evidence of your idiotic bias against anything done by someone being-president-while-black."

        That's right, my one and only criteria for deciding political right and wrong is the color of the originator's skin.

        You do know what a dirty underhanded tactic this is, right I.H.? "He opposes Obama's policies, and Obama is black, so he's a white racist". Simple, direct, and totally vicious. This is why leftists have such a bad rep outside of their tony enclaves, you know.

        1. Alister

          OK then, let's try idiotic bias against anything done by someone being-president-while-republican.

          Even if something is demonstrably, unequivocally the correct thing to do, you are completely blinded by your ridiculous partisanship, and refute it without any logical thought.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > "Even if something is demonstrably, unequivocally the correct thing to do..."

            I'm quite sure everything you believe in falls into that category, amirite? You see it all so clear in stark black and white. Must be nice.

            1. elDog

              Oh dear, BJ has signed off having made another robotic response

              Corporatists have a lot of money via contracts/tasks to interject themselves into real conversations. But once they reach their allocated thresholds for time/$$$/comments, on to the next topic.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Megaphone

                Re: Oh dear, BJ has signed off having made another robotic response

                Good news, elDog! I've gotten lots more funding, so now I can make your smile turn upside down indefinitely! Isn't that great?

                Robot THX1138 signing off, for now...

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Oh dear, BJ has signed off having made another robotic response

                  Oh by the bye, for all you folks who assume I'm anti-NN, that remains to be seen. Examine my past posts on the topic if you don't believe me. Not once have I actually taken a clear stance on either side.

                  What I object to are the rather disturbing ways that the NN bandwagon is supported and proselytized (with help from deep-pockets Google, et al) while anyone who isn't a clear supporter is directly attacked, as if they were all in the pay of Big Bandwidth.

                  I'm further disturbed at finding out the pro-NN Electronic Frontier Foundation has been caught churning the FCC's comment system on this issue. No wonder they got such a flood of positive comments, eh? I guess that ol' FCC had no real choice but to regulate those nasty robber baron ISP's, right? All the peepuls wants it!

                  The NN movement has the same odour about it as the CAGW movement. Basically, propaganda trumps facts (if you'll pardon the expression). The big players in favor of NN want it a little too much for comfort.

                  If NN is so very righteous then it should be able to win majorities in congress. But we can't wait, can we? This particular proposal is far too urgent to be left to the slow wheels of legislation! We have to have it NOW.

                  Did I say "bandwagon?" More like "rocket sled." And the end of the track is shrouded in clouds...

                  1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                    Re: Oh dear, BJ has signed off having made another robotic response

                    I'm further disturbed at finding out the pro-NN Electronic Frontier Foundation has been caught churning the FCC's comment system on

                    Your selective blindness is showing.. there were many, many anti-NN comments auto-submitted by bot (with identical comments) using stolen or forged identities.

                    For some strange reason, you don't seem to be upset about those.. I wonder why?

                    Can you spell bias confirmation? You ought to be able to, you certainly seem to cherry-pick your data in order to fit your pre-determined conclusions. The Soviet-era Council of Science would be proud of you continuing their long, unproud tradition.

        2. israel_hands

          Yeah, focus on that, John. Just ignore the entire rest of my argument.

          If your reaction isn't knee-jerk bullshit then try refuting the rest of my post. Until then, keep bleating.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            israel_hands sez:

            "If your reaction isn't knee-jerk bullshit then try refuting the rest of my post. Until then, keep bleating."

            You suggested I was a racist with no evidence a five year old would accept, and then you expect me to respond to your other, uh.. bleatings I believe is the word? Yes, that about describes them.

            I don't banter with sick haters except to expose their hatred.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              You suggested I was a racist with no evidence a five year old

              Who is it round here that takes great pleasure in calling Obama "Obaka"? Oh yes - you.

              And that name comes straight out of the racist alt-right.

              Duck, walks, etc etc.

        3. Updraft102

          Yeah, yeah, the only reason anyone could ever oppose anything Obama did was his race. His actions were so perfectly awesome that no one, even someone from the opposite end of the political spectrum, could EVER oppose them for any other reason. If he decides to act as a king, issuing decrees as if he has the power to generate laws even though that power has never been delegated to him by the Constitution, no one could ever seriously oppose that unless they think he has too much melanin in his skin (because members of the left think everyone's as obsessed about judging people by their race as they are). He's the first president ever to never do anything that could ever upset anyone unless it was something about him personally (even if other presidents have tried the same things and been opposed in doing so-- that was legitimate, though, 'cause those presidents were white and therefore fair game).

          The good news is that the race card has been dishonestly played so many times (like right here) that scarcely anyone believes it anymore. Cry wolf a few thousand times too many and it just becomes a part of the background noise... it's there, but it's so constant that people just tune it out. Same thing's happening with the American media... they're so infected with Trump Derangement Syndrome that they keep redoubling their effort to dig, dig, dig every time they find themselves in a hole.

          The politics of personal destruction failed to bring Trump down during the primary, so they tried even harder. Then the same tactics failed during the general, and again they concluded that the thing to do is try the same thing even harder still. A 30 second tweet can work the media into a frenzied lather for two or three days, and they never realize how badly they've been played. A negotiator knows that if you trigger an emotional response in your adversary, he loses the ability to think or act rationally, and you win.

          It's breathtaking... but let's not do anything that might cause them to reflect on what they're doing. Never interrupt the enemy while he's busy destroying himself!

          Now, the bad news here is that if there actually ever is actual racism, no one's going to believe that either. Of course, the odds that the left would find and report racism (rather than just perpetrating it while accusing the opposition of same, as is the norm) are pretty slim anyway, but even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then. Theoretically speaking, it is possible, however unlikely.

          I know the response I'll get for this... just remember the bit about the tweets!

    3. Daggerchild Silver badge

      You make it sound like it's a measured and considered response, instead of simply being a huge bonfire of anything Obama has ever touched.

      It's very difficult to blame Obama through all the heat and flames, but I can't help but admire your continued determination to do so.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I sure can blame Obama for foisting NN on the nation with no real public debate, and certainly no legislative debate. Given that these new rules are by fiat only, Trump can get them ditched the same way. No case needs to be made beyond that. This "settled law" stance most here seem to have is not at all legit, since no votes were ever taken.

        Now if there IS a case for NN, let it be offered up to Congress for approval, the way these major regulations used to be made into law, not via the faceless bureaucracy.

        1. DaddyHoggy

          Obama didn't foist Net Neutrality (and the use of that word makes it sound like Net Neutrality is a bad thing) on anybody.

          The Net has always been Neutral, that's the point.

          However, lots of big companies don't want that and while pretending they do (like stated in this article), they've been trying to get even the idea of Net Neutrality taken away.

          By attaching Net Neutrality to the 1938 Legislation has at least slowed the picking apart of what Net Neutrality is.

          You need a proper law to underpin Net Neutrality but the US Politicking seems more determined just to repeal what was done (simply as a stop gap) while a better law, a law more in keeping with the way the Internet works and factors in current and possible future technologial innovations - but this would require some actual thought and consensus and neither seem possible (from the outside looking in) in your current politcal climate.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Net neutrality? Thanks, Dubya!

          I sure can blame Obama for foisting NN on the nation with no real public debate,

          You mean, except for the public comment periods, where the FCC received a record-breaking amount of feedback?

          and certainly no legislative debate.

          Some legislators have tried - for over a decade - but most of congress isn't interested in a debate.

          Given that these new rules are by fiat only, Trump can get them ditched the same way. No case needs to be made beyond that.

          The current situation is a result of years of legal battles with the ISPs, and since there are rules against the FCC making capricious changes to regulations, the FCC will have to show clear evidence that the current regulations are harmful before they'll be able to get any repeal through the courts.

          And those years of legal battles that the FCC went through to be able to enforce net neutrality rules? That began under Bush Jr.

          If you want to learn about the history of net neutrality, and how we got to this point, I recommend the recent podcasts:

          Why is there a battle over net neutrality? and DTNS 3701 - The secret history of net neutrality

  2. ma1010
    Mushroom

    It's like I said the other day

    Corporations are such cynical scumbags these days that they don't even PRETEND to be reasonable or law-abiding or anything else that's pro-social. They do provide "service," though. Yesterday's mail had an ad from AT&T offering fiber-based Internet service at my house. (They're the only one offering that in my area.)

    After reading about how totally fast the service is supposed to be, I noticed the add was full of asterisks and fine print and references to requiring "other services" to qualify for the (largely displayed) $50/month price they were supposedly offering. Those "other services" were not spelled out at all. So what's the REAL price for this, AT&T? Why do you have to act sly and tricky about something this simple?

    While I do rather like the idea of upgrading, the ad was so dodgy (and the company itself so dodgy and morally bankrupt, as the article points out so well), I just threw it in the garbage. I'll stick with my slow DSL service because that's from a small, honest company with great customer service.

    AT&T can go bugger itself.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretend to champion the thing that is opposite of what you want.

    That's fake news.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Keep reading

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Method to their madness...

    They're just making sure the way is clear for them to do what they want. If the legislation passes in CA, then they're screwed even if the FCC rescinds Title II. The argument against CA is pretty circular... law not needed since it's covered by Title II... meanwhile fighting to kill of Title II. Got to love corporate games... until you get their bill with a demand for payment.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    In the US corporations are "people" and the defaul personality type is "sociopath"

    The corporations one duty is to make profit for its stockholders.

    Period.

    Any other goals are set by its Board and the CEO. Historically the reasons they have behaved any better than this very low standard are because of the view of the Board and CEO and / or government legislation.

    Whatever else the corporation says it's committed to is PR BS if the Board and CEO don't give a s**t.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The corporations one duty is to make profit for its stockholders. Period

      No, that may be the reason the corporation exists. And it may not: Some corporations are non profit, and some exist for other reasons altogether.

      But all have a duty to obey the law, to pay any taxes they owe, etc.

      1. oldcoder

        Re: The corporations one duty is to make profit for its stockholders. Period

        "But all have a duty to obey the law, to pay any taxes they owe, etc."

        Except when they can make more money by not obeying the law or pay taxes they owe...

        One of the reasons Microsoft and AT&T keep ending up in court for NOT doing it... then pay a pittance to "get out of jail".

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: In the US corporations are "people" and the defaul personality type is "sociopath"

      The corporations one duty is to make profit for its stockholders.

      Period.

      There are more nuances to that - short-term vs. long-term. It's no use making huge quantities of money by screwing people into the ground because it'll inevitably cause you to lose in the long term (cf: IBM).

      The only reason that the big comms companies having been killed off is because (in the US) they mostly are an area monopoly. Once meaningful competition comes in, people vote with their wallets.

      So, sensible corporations make profit for their stockholders in ways that doesn't damage their long-term prospects. Because, to do otherwise, is to fail in your duty to said stockholders.

      On the other hand, you have parasites like Icann who only exist to make a fast buck, not caring about the long-term repercussions of their asset-stripping.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a well written article. The cable and ISPs should just be providers of pipes and heavily regulated providers of pipes, like any other utility. I'm sure they will fight crazily to prevent that from happening. I think this one may work out though because all of the internet companies are opposing their deep pockets with equally as deep pockets... Also, the entire population agrees with the internet companies, which is a nice plus, but not that important, in their current political environment.

  8. elDog

    And, I can guarantee - the Law of Unintended Consequences

    Will show that the corporatists are wrong.

    While it may seem obvious to upper-level management and their toadying lawyers, free internet is actually good for them, their bottom line, and their stockholders.

    I really wish that corporate benefits were tied to long-term company health.

    5 years you get 10% of your golden parachute

    10 years you get 30%

    15 years you get the rest.

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Sigh!

    Referring to the extraordinary news that Donald Trump Jr had taken a meeting with a Russian government lawyer offering damaging information on his father's presidential rival – and then repeatedly lied about it

    You see, dear author. You cannot accuse others of cynicism when you yourself are providing "facts" that just aren't, embiggened with fast-breathing partisanship.

    > "extraordinary news"

    A prior judgement. Is this news "extraordinary"? Really. I doubt it. But adding adjectives is a nice way of penetrating the filters of the target audience.

    > a meeting with a Russian government lawyer

    Shock! Ties to Russia! Well, let's cite RT (and why not, it's better than Vox and shit along that line)

    Natalia Veselnitskaya was almost certainly not representing the Kremlin when she courted baby Trump. Rather she was lobbying on behalf of a client, mixed up in the Sergei Magnitsky case [a very politicised case that seems to be smokescreened by everybody involved]. To that end, the ex-UK tabloid hack Robert Goldstone exaggerated her usefulness to attract Donald Jr.’s attention. By Trump's own account, he quickly sussed this distorted pretext and pulled back. Plus, it’s worth mentioning how she’s also engaged plenty of Democrats as part of her campaign.

    So, did she deliver on La Madame? As far as we are being told, she didn't.

    > and then repeatedly lied about it

    Should Mr. Trump Jr. have accepted the meeting? Heck no. Did he break "campaign finance laws"? Doubtful. Did he lie? It seems so, as he did not correctly disclose the content or the subject of the meeting. But let's be realistic: It frankly sounds like a set-up. Would you really tell world & dog that a russian lawyer has contacted you about oppo, when fingers are already being pointed at you with the accusation that your ties are less clean than they should be?

    Meanwhile, triple-A memoryholed: Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire - Kiev officials are scrambling to make amends with the president-elect after quietly working to boost Clinton.-.

    Weird, eh?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sigh!

      > "You see, dear author. You cannot accuse others of cynicism when you yourself are providing "facts" that just aren't, embiggened with fast-breathing partisanship."

      Careful D.A.M, this is the sort of "talking truth to power" that got me on the automatic "awaiting moderation" list recently. Just accept that Trump is an evil monster and everything will smooth out nicely. Oh and you'll get oodles of upvotes too!

  10. GrapeBunch
    Unhappy

    There is no turbo button

    "Would you like to turbo-fuck?" I asked Mrs. Bunch.

    "With whom would you suggest I do that?" she smiled demurely.

    Seeing that it was a longshot, I replied: "I saw it on television."

    "Mister Oliver" she said, "has left the building."

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