Ed Whitacre Again Shows Off His Mastery Of The Gibberish

from the keep-on-talkin' dept

AT&T has attracted a lot of attention this week for changes it's made to its privacy policy, which appear to give it much more latitude in sharing customer information with the government. This comes after the fallout of its apparent cooperation with the NSA and disclosure of records, a move which the company tried its best to deny without actually denying anything. But the doublespeak flows from the top down at AT&T, where CEO Ed Whitacre has a long and distinguished track record of verbal diarrhea across a wide array of topics, with particular achievement when it comes to network neutrality. Whitacre's latest gem comes from a Senate hearing this week, where he defended the changes to AT&T's privacy policy by saying it was merely meant "to make the policy easier for consumers to read". That's funny, Ed, since it really looks like it's intended to cover AT&T's butt should its questionable data-sharing come to light again. The continued stream of hot air that comes from telcos and their executives makes it hard to take anything they say at face value. Here's a thought -- perhaps if you were more upfront with consumers, stopped treating them like idiots, quit masking your intentions and hiding behind shill groups, people might respect your viewpoints a little more.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Erstazi, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 5:46pm

    ...

    They are just trying to cover their assets... pun intended.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    I, for one, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 6:36pm

    Everyone's a winner

    An eloquent appraisal of the weasel, but don't forget he's paid for that behaviour. Behaviour so entrenched in Pavlovian conditioning that he's like a maze-rat in some Milleresque lab experiment. What else would the weasel do? I expect he can no more tell the truth or straight-talk than a one legged man can win the Tour de France. Pay no heed to the ramblings of a fool, it is no longer cynicisim to expect politicians and PR types to lie, wriggle and spout shite, just the reality of modern life.

    As far as AT&T's new terms go, afaik it's contractually sound. Just that the legality (not the morality) of their unilateral assertion of new contractual terms has never been tested.

    Tested in the sense of due consideration (I don't know what you call that in American contract law).

    You see, each record has value. Information that you supply to them voluntarily or by the act of making a logged call has value. You don't think they just give this stuff away do you? No, it goes through a intermediate handling agency or broker, partly to cover the trail.

    So the question is, "What am I, as an active party in the transaction, getting in consideration?"

    Open the market right up I say. Make it possible for anyone to buy anyone elses call records at $10 a pop with $5 going to the instigator of the information (both parties in the call getting $2.50). Make it a flat rate fee so the calls of a lobbyist, CEO or lawyer cost the same as Joe Schmo the truck driver. It might even encourage terrorists to opt into the scheme. Everybody is happy!

    That will sort the whole problem out.
    I mean, fair is fair ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Robert B. Harrington, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 8:29pm

    Telco and Cable Pirates

    Our communications networks, for decades run in the public interest by kindly Ma Bell, long ago were waylayed by a bunch of bloodthirsty pirates. Lying, cheating, and stealing have become standard operating procedures among telephone and cable network executives and their PR departments. They lie to our political representatives already financially bought by political contributions we pay for. The politicians and their FCC appointees then gutlessly hand them the keys to the treasure chest we pack monthly with our hard-earned gold. The pirates, of course, do what comes naturally; they plunder our treasures, forget their promises, then sail away into the dark of night to prepare for their next attack. Municipal WiFi and fiber networks may be the only way to break their strangle hold to save our nation, one community at a time, from ever crappier communications services at ever higher prices.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Sean, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 9:58pm

    Re: Telco and Cable Pirates

    I'd have to agree with you. They do seem to be doing this exact thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Frink, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 10:51pm

    Do you think the private phone records, email and internet connection logs of the telco executives are in that massive data base they share with the NSA? How about the records of their family members, or all of their company connections?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2006 @ 8:30am

    A serious question, how did we ever get to the point where helping our own govt. is considered a bad thing?

    Personally, I don't think most Americans do believe that what happened with the NSA was bad, but that's a different issue.

    How have we gotten to the point where we blame AT&T for helping our own govt? Is it all just politics? People looking for a reason to bash the current govy. and any reason will do?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    What is even the spoon???, Jun 24th, 2006 @ 10:23am

    Time to take Johnny Telco out back and shoot him.

    One word:
    BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!! Good news to wake up to. It's amazing that they can get so focused they can't even see what's in front of them anymore. Then again, who was it that made them so big in the first place?

    Anonymous Coward: Yes. In the interests of public control, every security issue is wildly blown out of control so Americans will be afraid. Stuff happens - always has, always will. We are all paranoid and let them destroy privacy and personal freedom in the interests of public security. Big Brother rides in on the horse named threat prevention. AT&T has no more credibility now that they've decided to feed the hobgoblin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anon, Jun 24th, 2006 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    Actually, I have the same question from a different angle.

    When did my right to privacy suddenly become dependent upon who's in power? Why must I give up my civil liberities or be accused of "bashing" the "current govy" if I assert my American rights?

    You don't think my rights are being violated by being spied on by my own government? Big surprise.

    Frankly I don't care if you wish to give away your rights to the Republican party or George Bush or AT&T. But my rights exist regardless of what "your " government says - because that's what "my" Constitution says.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Alan MadLeese, Jun 24th, 2006 @ 11:35am

    MySpace doesn't have to lie

    Dear TD,
    Yes, AT&T has the arrogance and stupidity down pat, but MySpace. the society of questionable friends, tries to keep up with its elder bafflegabbers. I have been following the fortunes of MySpace since I learned about its hidden "ownership issue" and [posted a claim on Catbird Forum that the unheralded owners, Clarence and Joan Coleman of San Leandor Cal and Andrew and Tiffany Wiederhorn, of Portland Ore, all principal owners of Fog Cutter Capital Corp., a business in bad odor with just about everyone but its board members. That revelation intrigued few outside various blogs on the Internet, and still hasn't surfaced, if that's the correct word, in any American print publication that I know about, and I have been watching closely and noting all the AT&T like machinations of the MySpace figureheads, Chris DeWolfe, CEO, and Tom Anderson, president, cabin boys stilll running the chaotic space even after the murky firesale to Murdoch; the cabin boys are tools of the Wiederhorn-Coleman bunch, and probably will be dumped by Murdoch as soon as possible, but in the meantime they and their staffers stiff the press with an aplomb that should astound, but doesn't, because many of the poor repororial souls, guys like me who cause steel balls to malfunction which they near them, don't understand all this tech stuff, and are easily intimidated by the PR crap common in the high tech field. So Chris DeWolfe will threatne a journalis, as he did blogger Trent Lapinski, with a lawsusit for the ballsy quesion: WHo owns MySpace? And Hemanshu Nigam, MySpace enforcer, will disdain to respond to a New York TImes reporter's queries as to the number of assaults stemming from MySpace liaisons, and Dani Dudeck, PR persons for Murdoch's Newscorp. wouldn't say shit if she had a mouthful, and TOm Anderson, the president, does not have the sense, in this view from lovely Hallowell-by-the-Kennebec, that the random universe gave a goat, and Chris DeWolfe, as I have stated in posts on Konspiracy Korner, would rather climb a tree to tella lie than sit on the ground and tell thetruth. And MySpace even has the press lying for it without knowing it. MySpace has this attrativetheory that its successes stem from thatviral thing, people so love the site that they rushi out into the streets to tell others of its wonders, but my hunch is that the genius of list-making people named Coleman and their nerdishs helpers is what allowed MySpace to hit theground running, but the press goes along, says MySpace success is "largely driven" by factors that have nothing to do with its success because MySpace, which wouldn't even tell you who owned it before they sold it, might well just be the end result of a lot of industrious spamming, spying, list-making, data mining even before somebody sdaid, hey, let's hire two cabins boys and make them friends to the world while we are busily sellingthe rubes all the baubles, lotions and bangles that we have deals with.... al macleese, fromlovelyhallowellmaine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Itinerant Critic, Jun 24th, 2006 @ 11:54am

    It's still a consitutional privacy issue

    The fourth amendment says this: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    Phone call records constitute "papers" and any entity should he held to constitutional standard. In our daily lives we give away access to our information to various organizations in the contracts we form, but that does not give these organizations the right to give our information away to anyone, including the government. Having an FBI employee search our phone records without our permission is no different than having an agent walk unannounced into our homes and rifiling through our personal correspondence.

    While many individuals may have no problem with either of the above searches, that does not make it right for all and our consitution specifically prohibits it.

    Freedom and security have an uneasy alliance. We make sacrifices to both to find a path between them that best allows us to prosper. Any liberties that we give away we should do soberly, after much reflection and debate; anything less is a stain on our heritage and an invitation to the abuse of power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    dwreid, Jun 24th, 2006 @ 3:04pm

    The govy

    This text passes through the Republican brain

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    And comes out like this:

    The government shall have the right to demand anything of anyone, even to the extent of taking the mark of the beast as long as they tell us it's for our own good because the goverment is an arm of God and God is good.

    How handy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    HotGarbage, Jun 24th, 2006 @ 5:58pm

    Respect not needed

    They don't even need to respect their viewpoints. Whatever happened to telling someone how it is. Like it or don't...get over it or die mad, but this is the way we choose to disclose this information therefore if you are going to do anything shady, then use a different company. The fact is, that Joe Callmaker doesn't realize that any information about him has been divulged because it wasn't him they were looking for to begin with. Therefore he shouldn't really care that much. Most people are too busy to spend their time catching up on news like this. We keep up with it because it IS our interest, but 90 % of the population just doesn't want to be bothered with things like that. They want to pick up their phone or open a browser and it should work, every time. That is what they care about. Not how or why, untill it doesn't work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2006 @ 7:42pm

    Re:

    Um, they're not my government. My government is founded on the principles outlined in the Bill of Rights.

    Americans help their government by protesting the actions of the usurpers who are systematically going about destroying everything the US is supposed to stand for.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    J.E.J. stole my voice..., Jun 25th, 2006 @ 7:43am

    Re: It's still a consitutional privacy issue

    The fourth amendment says this: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    Although it is against our constitutional right for the Gov. to search through our "papers" without due cause, it is not against our right to be searched with due cause.
    This cause is our war on terrorism. Ever since we killed whatshisname this year, the major terrorist groups have been sending large amounts of threats to the US.
    Besides that, the Gov. looks for links with radical islam in the phone records.
    So unless you have any connections with Osama Binladen(sp?), your privacy is rather secure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    George Washington, Jun 25th, 2006 @ 9:54am

    Hey pal, how about you read what you cut and paste, huh?

    Randomly searching is by defination not "due cause". Searching without a warrant is expressly denied.

    I have always suspected Republicans actually hated the Constitution and civil liberties. They mouth all the pious words and slap the flag on everything they do but their support for this nation and it's democratic princples evaporates when sacrafice is called for.

    The Bushies disgusting use of the deaths of 3000 Americans for their own purposes and their eager, gleeful embrace of Big Brother government validate this belief.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    George Washington, Jun 25th, 2006 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: It's still a consitutional privacy issue

    Oh, and BTW, I'm not sure I actually believe you're not consipiring with Osama Bin Laden. I'd like to take your word for it but we're in a War On Terror and our safety is at stake, you know.

    So to prove to me and the US Government that you're a loyal American could you please post the following information:

    1) Full Name
    2) Address
    3) Phone numbers
    4) Employer
    5) Credit card and banking information

    I mean, you don't have anything to hide, do you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2006 @ 2:04pm

    Re: Everyone's a winner

    So what kind of money will the people who's info is getting shared make? Not too fair to them is it? There info gets shared/released without there knowledge, and make nothing? Then again, that is the american way, screw the American people as much as they can. God bless are country and sorry worthless government!

    Screw freedom of speech, screw privacy of the American people. Maybe we can have are worthless US government plant micro chips in our head/butt, that way it makes it easier for them to know where we are. Just another way to screw the people of this country.

    Rage against the Machine!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Scott, Jun 25th, 2006 @ 11:15pm

    The Government

    The government is many things, it is both our best friend and our worst enemy.

    To the guy who said this:

    "Although it is against our constitutional right for the Gov. to search through our "papers" without due cause, it is not against our right to be searched with due cause.
    This cause is our war on terrorism. Ever since we killed whatshisname this year, the major terrorist groups have been sending large amounts of threats to the US.
    Besides that, the Gov. looks for links with radical islam in the phone records.
    So unless you have any connections with Osama Binladen(sp?), your privacy is rather secure."

    Wake up.

    The constitution was written because governments are bad things. The "war on terror" is not a justifiable reason to be searching my phone records. I have nothing to hide, but I want my privacy. People like you are allowing the federal government to have too much control. Your government lies to you and you bend over and take it. You are weak and you cannot think for yourself. Our forefathers saw to it that we can defend ourselves from totalitarian control and fuckers like you are allowing them to do whatever they please.
    From what you just stated, the government can declare war on the Easter bunny and search your house looking for him.
    People like you are why pot is illegal and people are being prescribed zoloft, vioxx, viagra, and having their livers shut down.
    People like you are why we are fined for not wearing our seatbelt.
    People like you are why schools and hospitals get less money than the Navy, Army, National Guard, Air Force, or the Marines.
    People like you are comfortable watching people die on CNN.
    Open up your mind and shut your mouth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Scott, Jun 25th, 2006 @ 11:27pm

    And I know someone will say the Easter Bunny isn't real, and that Osama is. My point is that it is not a "War on Osama" This is nazi germany genocide of Islamic people type shit they are doing. And they are using it as a front to destroy our Civil liberties. The militia that the people are Constitutionally allowed to form in order to defend the American people from a possible military/police uprising is considered a terrorist group and would be arrested on site.
    So you see, my problem is this blanket "attack on terror". All the while using terrorist tactics. And people like "JEJ stole my voice" are completely blind to the truth and allow it to go on. There are an overwhelming number of ignorant idiots in this world and if there should be a blanket war on anything it should be a "War on Moronism".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 6:09am

    Yeah, I guess its just political because a few people don't like the current administration. Get real folks, GWB didn't start this, the govt. has been tapped into the communications lines for long before GWB came into office, and you have never been secure in your communications.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    anon, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 8:17am

    Re:

    Um...actually GWB did start this.

    These illegal spying programs weren't operating under the Clinton Administration. Bush is responsible for them.

    Throw your hands up in the air and say "oh, we've always been spied on" but this violation of our rights was planned, conceived and executed by the Republicans. The Republicans are the party of Big Government and Big Brother who want to watch and control you.

    That's what the evidence shows.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    JEJ stole my voice..., Jun 26th, 2006 @ 8:24am

    Ouch! Flamewars...

    ...No need to get pissy; just expressing an opinion.

    And to "George Washington", I'd be happy to give such info to the Gov. Just not to you. Anyways, I have an account with the Navy Federal Credit Union, A military ID, and a passport...The Gov. already has that kind of information. Just more reasons why my phone records are not being searched right now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re:

    Ummm, no, the govt. has been tapped into the communications networks for a whole lot longer than GWB has been around. Try starting with Kennedy, if not earlier.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    George Washington, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 9:53am

    Oh, now you assert the right to choose who gets to have your information. It's my privacy that doesn't concern you. Exactly as I thought.

    The rest of us must be in league with Osama if we don't want our privacy violated but you get to decide when you don't want to be forthcoming.

    You're a bigger danger to me than Al Quaeda. Those Americans who would happily live under a Soviet style police state (as long as it's their police state) are far more dangerous to my freedom and liberty then some turban wearing boogieman.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2006 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Prove it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This