AT$T as Ma Censor

Posted on July 20, 2006 - 7:27am.

from: Digital Destiny

AT&T as Ma Censor: Playing the `Indecency’ Card in its Anti-Net Neutrality Campaign

July 15th, 2006

In a reflection of how desperate AT&T’s executives are to stave off an open broadband medium in the U.S., the former SBC is willing to use any tactic—no matter how despicable and dangerous. It appears that AT&T is now seeking to inflame conservative family groups, as well as parents in general, by claiming that network neutrality will usher in a torrent of what it deems to be inappropriate content. Communications Daily reports that an AT&T spokesperson confirmed that:

conservative family groups’ social concerns are on a “very long and growing list” of the net neutrality campaign’s unintended consequences. “All content’s not the same and it shouldn’t be treated the same” if consumers are really in charge. “You’ll continue to see these kinds of things be brought up more publicly” as people learn about the issue, she said.” [“Net Neutrality May Face Battle from Family Values Groups,” July 17, 2007. Subscription required].

But what is most telling in this quote is how AT&T is willing to act as Ma Censor, and readily seek to place a range of content off-limits. Today, they are offering to block what many parents would likely agree is disturbing content. But tomorrow, they could seek to block all kinds of programming necessary for a vibrant and informed democracy. (This is from a company, of course, who doesn’t think twice about handing over to the Bush NSA all kinds of personal information about us).

It also reflects how AT&T is so disingenuous in the net neutral debate. Without an open ‘Net safeguard, independent content providers who seek to offer users quality content–including educational programming for children– won’t be able to readily provide it. That’s because AT&T’s fast lanes will be jam-packed with paid for video games, personalized advertising, and the latest offerings from Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network.

AT&T’s new corporate motto should be: Fueling the flames of censorship so we can make a fast buck.