the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

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All Your Personal Data Are Belong to AT&T;

Pursuant to this article about AT&T;'s new privacy policies, it may be in your best interests to watch whatever you say if over the phone, or in fact to not have phone service of any kind.

From the article:

The new policy says that AT&T; -- not customers -- owns customers' confidential info and can use it "to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process."

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.

Moreover, AT&T; (formerly known as SBC) is requiring customers to agree to its updated privacy policy as a condition for service -- a new move that legal experts say will reduce customers' recourse for any future data sharing with government authorities or others.


AT&T;'s new and former privacy policies both state that "conducting business ethically and ensuring privacy is critical to maintaining the public's trust and achieving success in a dynamic and competitive business climate."

Both also state that "privacy responsibility" extends "to the privacy of conversations and to the flow of information in data form." As such, both say that "the trust of our customers necessitates vigilant, responsible privacy protections."

The 2004 policy, though, went one step further. It said AT&T; realizes "that privacy is an important issue for our customers and members."

The new policy makes no such acknowledgment.

I for one welcome our new Orwellian older sibling overlords! USA! USA!

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