June 30, 2008

AT&T Warns: "Your Calls May Be Tapped!" (and a Bike Accessory)

Greetings. AT&T must be feeling pretty good right now knowing that immunity for their possibly illicit wiretapping operations is imminent -- and nobody can accuse them of not having a sense of humor about the whole thing.

In honor of their no longer being federally tariffed as in the past, AT&T is sending out to their customers the official phone company Terms of Service. I must admit that I laughed out loud when I pulled it from the envelope to reveal eighteen pages of fine print and legalistic terminology that wouldn't have been out of place in a Hollywood contract or a non-disclosure agreement at NSA.

The pages unfolded like the many credits at the end of the classic animated program Rocky and His Friends ("All on this itty-bitty card!") -- surprising the cat who happened to be standing beneath me at that moment.

Outside of the inherent humor in the length of the "agreement" itself and the concept of sending residential telephone subscribers documents detailing "Force Majeure" specifications, another hilarious gem was buried in the contractual verbiage.

AT&T points out in one section that if you don't take steps to encrypt or otherwise secure your communications on the AT&T network, your communications are subject to interception by third parties.

Alert the media! AT&T says "Your calls and data may be tapped!" Not exactly headline news, guys. We know "cover your behind" legalese when we see it.

However, the mailing of the agreement, even though only a fraction of the recipients will have the requisite legal training to understand most of it, may still serve a useful purpose for some subscribers.

In my case, I was able to use the AT&T document as a handy makeshift splatter shield while doing some work on my bike yesterday.

Who says that there's no upside to being an AT&T customer?


Posted by Lauren at June 30, 2008 01:18 PM | Permalink
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