AT&T Asks Employees To Hide AT&T Affiliation While Protesting Net Neutrality Laws
from the disclosure? dept
Take, for example, the backlash today on the news that AT&T's chief lobbyist sent out an email to all AT&T employees urging them to protest any new net neutrality laws and hide their AT&T affiliation as they do so. AT&T has confirmed the email, which has numerous factual errors (and remember, I actually agree that net neutrality laws don't make sense). But, more importantly, the mainstream media is now calling AT&T out for this outrageous effort to have employees pretend they're not employees in protesting these rules.
Transparency on conflicts makes a lot of sense. It's something that people should do because it makes you more trustworthy -- not because the FTC threatens to fine you. The problem with the FTC rules is that it creates a weird chilling effect and threat of action on things where the rules aren't at all clear. As AT&T is learning today, trying to hide that kind of thing just creates a lot of backlash. It makes AT&T appear like it doesn't have a strong legitimate case, and needs to resort to underhanded techniques to make its argument.
Oh, and to make the FTC and our critics happy: Full Disclosure: I use AT&T DSL at home, and while I pay for it, a few years back there was a long outage, and AT&T agreed to give me a credit of $35 off my next bill. I also know some people who work at AT&T. My wife uses an iPhone, which I assume must run on AT&T's network, but it's provided by her employer (oh, crap, do I need to disclose who that is too?), and so we never see the bill -- so maybe the FTC thinks it's provided for free? I once sat on a panel with a representative from AT&T, and while I disagreed with him on most things policy-wise, I thought he was a nice guy, and at times I've talked to him about why AT&T should be more involved in online conversations (like this one!). Anything else?