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October 11, 2007

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Somewhat off-topic, but very significant. Documents released from Nacchio's trial make it very clear that the warrantless wiretapping started before 9/11. Nacchio told them no in a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001. The documents are available here:

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/tech/article/0,2777,DRMN_23910_5719566,00.html

AT&T service sucks. They can't disconnect me because I already switched to a different provider. They say they want me back. They keep sending offers if I will switch back. These offers come with postage paid return envelopes which my spouse feels should have a purpose in life, and , so...well, I won't go into it. What made us terminate service was what happened when I called to complain about the 4 days I was without basic phone service. I wanted to record my conversation with the AT&T rep. The rep told me he would hang up if I tried and that he could tell if I was taping the conversation. It is OK for them to record my call, but I could not record them or have access to the tape.
That was it. We have no regrets.

Yeah, William, that's a stunning article in the Rocky. They sure as hell aren't leading with it.

Stuff like this makes your head spin --

"Nacchio planned to demonstrate at trial that he had a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., to discuss a $100 million project. According to the documents, another topic also was discussed at that meeting, one with which Nacchio refused to comply.

"The topic itself is redacted each time it appears in the hundreds of pages of documents, but there is mention of Nacchio believing the request was both inappropriate and illegal, and repeatedly refusing to go along with it.

"The NSA contract was awarded in July 2001 to companies other than Qwest.

"USA Today reported in May 2006 that Qwest, unlike AT&T and Verizon, balked at helping the NSA track phone calling patterns that may have indicated terrorist organizational activities. Nacchio's attorney, Herbert Stern, confirmed that Nacchio refused to turn over customer telephone records because he didn't think the NSA program had legal standing.

"In the documents, Nacchio also asserts Qwest was in line to build a $2 billion private government network called GovNet and do other government business, including a network between the U.S. and South America.

*** The documents maintain that Nacchio met with top government officials, including President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and then-National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice in 2000 and early 2001 to discuss how to protect the government's communications network. *** "

So do the comments above indicate that the telcos are demanding blanket immunity because not all of them acquiesced to Federal demands that they break the law? Did Qwest suffer damages because it refused to break the law? Does the government owe Qwest damages? Is this where the government, the bought-and-paid-for members of Congress, and the compromised-but-still-standing telcos find their common interest?

I have a relatively minor issue that I have been wanting to discuss with AT&T but have been putting it off because of the last experience and time wasted trying to a) find a telephone number to call; b) go through countless "trees" trying to find the right button to push to get a customer service person on the line; c) waiting on hold for a lengthy time; and then, d) when I was referred to another office or group after speaking to an agent, waiting on hold for another long period or going through other calling trees.

I have often wondered what would happen if legislation was enacted that would require companies to provide the means to talk to a real person as a first level option. Maybe we would enjoy a lot less frustration...

In the meantime, I detest AT&T -- and I think it is almost evil the way it has reassembled itself and turned back into the behemoth it was before it was broken up. Just the fact that it has that provision in its contract that allows it to censor content critical of it tells me a lot. No, they probably do not use it (much), but who knows? Chances are, any email directed to a regulatory site is monitored because people are complaining so much about poor service...

I hope there is no way for AT&T to force its disclosure-friendly personal privacy and activity monitoring positions upon phone/ISP companies that contract to use AT&T pipes.

sorta OT - if anyone wants to take a look at at representative holt's FISA bill (the one the ACLU likes, but appears stuck in committee), i got a copy and posted it here for down load (the text isn't in thomas yet).

please download and share widely (i don't give a rat's ass about links).

If Ma Bell calls, just hang up.

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