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AT&T Suggests To 300K Employees To Lobby the FCC 239

Posted by kdawson
from the call-your-uncle-sam dept.
Several readers sent in the news that AT&T's top lobbyist sent a letter to all 300,000 employees urging them to give feedback to the FCC as it gears up for rulemaking on net neutrality. He even supplied talking points approved by the PR department. The lobbyist, Jim Cicconi, suggested that employees use their personal email accounts when they weigh in with the FCC. Pro-net-neutrality group Free Press has now likened Cicconi's letter to astroturfing: "Coming from one of the company’s most senior executives, it’s hard to imagine AT&T employees thinking the memo was merely a suggestion."
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AT&T Suggests To 300K Employees To Lobby the FCC

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  • This is getting blown way out of proportion and has a simple explanation:

    You also have to BCC your immediate manager to remain employed.
    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:39PM (#29815101) Journal
      No need for that... it's in the actual letter:

      The "net neutrality" rules as reported will jeopardize the very goals supported by the Obama administration that every American have access to high-speed Internet services no matter where they live or their economic circumstance. That goal can't be met with rules that halt private investment in broadband infrastructure. And the jobs associated with that investment will be lost at a time when the country can least afford it.

      Who needs to blatantly hinge jobs upon action/inaction to the letter when FUD inside the letter works so well?

      Whatever, though. This is just like unions telling their members to do the same thing for the benefit of their employers (and thus themselves)... just without the go-between of the union. It happens all the time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Go ahead AT&T employees. Send a letter.

        Tell the FCC to support net neutrality because you want to be able to get your music and movies from ANY website, not just att.com websites. No I do not recommend bcc:ing your boss on that email.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pieroxy (222434)

          Apart from being pathetically ridiculous, this clearly shows how the top management at AT&T thinks backwards. Instead of trying to provide a better service for their customers, since there is a strong demand, they just try to avoid having to face the demand. Wow...

          Let's hope that the FCC will not be influenced by this.

          Mobile providers are an area where free market is rarely seen thriving, since it is so expensive to deploy a decent infrastructure. This is not to say that they could not be competitive, b

      • by TheWizardTim (599546) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @07:57PM (#29816719) Journal

        Unions are a democracy.
        Business are a dictatorship.

        When a union tells its members, "You should do X," you can work on changing the direction of the Union by voting in new leadership, or run for a position yourself.

        When a business tells its employees, "You should do X," you can quit.

        • by Leafheart (1120885) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @03:38AM (#29820333)

          Unions are a democracy.

          No, they are not. They are just a smaller version of the government, as corrupt and as filthy as them. There was a time when Unions were useful, those days are gone.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dpilot (134227)

            I won't argue too heard when you say that governments and unions are corrupt and filthy.

            I'll start arguing when you say that businesses are any better.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300)

      Company tells people to vote a particular way: Bad.
      Union tells people to vote a particular way: Good.
      Because the Company is all about its own self interest.
      Unions are for the employees and don't have any self interests.

      If you believe that I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

      Any large organization will want to control its masses.

      • by Vellmont (569020) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @06:22PM (#29815651)


        Any large organization will want to control its masses.

        True. The big difference between an employer trying to influence its employees politics and a union trying to influence its members politics is that an employer can fire employees, while a union can't. That's kind of a large difference in terms of power influence. Union officials are also generally elected positions, so the power flows the other way as well.

        • by hobo sapiens (893427) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @07:18PM (#29816283) Journal

          all true. I worked for the company in question for years and this is nothing new. Before net neutrality, there was cable vs dsl. Before that, there was UNE-P (http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/U/UNE_P.html). Before that, there was SBC vs ATT for long distance. Before that, there was probably some other bogeyman that they tried to rally everyone against.

          Here's the thing: I never once contributed to their PAC. Not even once. I didn't use Cingular, I used a competing carrier until Cingular's service got better than the competition. I still use an AT&T DSL connection and phone service, even though I no longer work there. Why? I will choose to spend my money on whomever provides the best service at my price point. I made that clear to everyone I used to work with who gave me grief.

          My job was never once threatened. I never received a bad review, never got any flack at all. I left of my own volition. Now, if I still worked there, I would never do what they are asking. I don't think there would be trouble over that.

          The sad part is, though, many many many of those 300K employees *will* allow themselves be coerced to send this email, even without understanding what the fuss is about. This is more about people doing what they are told than some corporation "encouraging" employees to vote a certain way. That happens everywhere, and it's not fair to stick it to AT&T over this as though they are doing something unusual and outrageous. It's the mindless mass of people who go along with this, despite the fact that any implicit threat is empty. Any thinking person would realize that there's nothing they can really do about it.

        • by electrons_are_brave (1344423) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:21PM (#29818875)
          I notice that in the US that only 12.4% of your workforce is in unions (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/union2.pdf). So, lordy knows why people are crediting them with such astonishing power - they can't even get people to join, let alone "obey" them. To say they have the same power over a worker as an employer is crazy. If people don't agree with or want to be in a union they leave.

          My understanding of the US industrial landscape is scanty, but I've been told that in a minority of cases there are still "closed shops" (I know they aren't called that in the US) in industries like construction. And, yes, for all practical purposes, being a member in those instances probably isn't optional. But that's a very small minority of cases.

          The main reason people join - and stay in unions - is not because they are forced to. It's simply that unionized workplaces have higher wages and lower accident rates (once industry differences in these rates are factored out). Relying on the employer to do the right thing is noticably flawed as a strategy

      • by cjb658 (1235986)

        Guess who is the number one political gift donor [opensecrets.org] in America is.

      • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @07:02PM (#29816113)

        Company tells people to vote a particular way: Bad.
        Union tells people to vote a particular way: Good.

        A union's relationship to its members is more analogous to a corporation's relationship to its shareholders than a corporation's relationship to its employees. Sure, you can have bad managers (and union leadership are managers of the union, though they have different titles) acting in the managers' self-interest rather than members'/shareholders' shared interest in either case, but a corporation's management doesn't even in theory work in the interest of the employees, it works in the interest of the shareholders.

        So there is a pretty big difference between union leadership making recommendations on political actions to the people whose shared interests they are paid to represent, and a corporation's management making recommendation for political action to their "human resources".

         

    • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @06:02PM (#29815427)

      This is getting blown way out of proportion and has a simple explanation:

      You also have to BCC your immediate manager to remain employed.

      I am writing on behalf of a Jim Cicconi at AT&T. He can always be found
      hard at work in his office. He lobbies independently, but never stoops to
      donating to opposition party members. Jim is consistent in that he only
      lobbies in order to help America innovate in telecom, but never
      offers bribes in exchange for their support. Jim often takes extended
      measures to complete his lobbying, sometimes skipping coffee and lunch
      breaks. Jim is a dedicated individual who has absolutely no
      vanity in spite of his leadership skills, record of high accomplishments,
      moral scruples and knowledge in his field. I firmly believe that Jim can
      be classed as a top-tier lobbyist, and his recommendations cannot
      be easily dispensed with. Consequently, I duly recommend that Jim be
      appointed to regulatory office, and that this appointment should be
      executed as soon as possible.

      Attempting to influence public policy by means of astroturfing is an art; one sometimes has to
      read between the lines.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by geekoid (135745)

        The accusations the Jim raped and murdered a 12 year old girl are false. I patently refuse to believe the wide spread rumor that Jim raped and murdered a 12 year old girl, such speculation that Jim raped and murdered a 12 year old girl have no basis in fact, no matter what any court may say.

        If you are offended, then you missed the joke.

  • So? (Score:2, Troll)

    What's the big deal? I also work in a regulated industry and recently our CEO sent out a memo suggesting employees write their Congressman about a proposed law that could seriously hurt our business. It doesn't matter where the urging comes from since it's not like the CEO can tell that you've followed his suggestion or not.

    • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

      Some of us would like to preserve the illusion that our government isn't totally at the beck and call of corporate interests. This sort of astroturfing is exactly what makes people cynical, when individual citizens are roped in to parroting the lines of the place they work for.

      Perhaps they won't check to see if you have done their bidding, but what if they did? What if it turns out that was a job requirement buried somewhere in that huge contract you signed when you started your job?

      The current lobbying s

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mujadaddy (1238164)

        Some of us would like to preserve the illusion that our government isn't totally at the beck and call of corporate interests.

        Too fucking bad, Alice in Wonderland. Maybe you need to wake up.

        The preservation of that illusion is one of two main perpetuating forces behind that reality (money being the other).

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:41PM (#29815121)

      I also work in a regulated industry and recently our CEO sent out a memo suggesting employees write their Congressman about a proposed law that could seriously hurt our business. It doesn't matter where the urging comes from since it's not like the CEO can tell that you've followed his suggestion or not.

      That's nice, but here we're not talking about letters to your Congressional representative, we're talking about comments to be filed as part of a formal FCC rulemaking process. Comments filed in a formal rulemaking process are public records. In fact, the FCC has an online search system [fcc.gov] that lets you search all filed comments, by, among other things, the name of the person or entity filing the comment, and the results include additional information like the mailing address of the filer.

      Consequently, especially if you are only worried about positive confirmation (IOW, if you don't mind some false negatives, but want to be fairly immune to false positives), its pretty easy for an employer to check if their employees have followed through on such a "recommendation."

      • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by eln (21727) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @06:10PM (#29815521) Homepage

        its pretty easy for an employer to check if their employees have followed through on such a "recommendation."

        The letter is clearly written as a suggestion, not a demand. Yes, it uses standard scare tactics to suggest that if their point of view loses, there will be massive layoffs, but it doesn't actually say you'll be fired or even disciplined in any way for failing to participate in this particular lobbying effort. Thus, if you're fired and you can show that you were fired because you didn't do this, you can likely sue for damages and win (especially if you can show others who didn't participate were also fired). Even in at-will states, you're begging for a lawsuit if you fire an employee for something like this.

        Along the same lines, my employer has its very own Political Action Committee. I occasionally get emails asking me to join the PAC and help advance "our interests". I ignore those emails, and am not a member of the PAC, nor have I ever donated a penny to it. And yet, I've not been fired nor have I been denied promotions or raises.

        • if you're fired and you can show that you were fired because you didn't do this, you can likely sue for damages and win

          That's it. And as you said, the letter that is now public was

          clearly written as a suggestion, not a demand

          I'm not saying that ATT intends to follow up on this, but any half-intelligent manager who intends to use his power as a stick to influence his employees' voting is going to be discreet in his threats and make sure there is no proof that his policy for firing and promoting was based on employees' heeding his political "suggestions".

      • Double Standard? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Frosty Piss (770223)
        How is this any different than, say, the Sierra Club or the FSF urging their members / followers to lobby their politicos on a particular point of view? It's OK for "us" but not for "them"?
        • Bad Comparison! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @06:52PM (#29816023)

          How is this any different than, say, the Sierra Club or the FSF urging their members / followers to lobby their politicos on a particular point of view?

          The Sierra Club and FSF are voluntary associations of people whose whole bases for association is a common ideology: members of those organizations pay the leaders of those organizations specifically to help them acheive particular shared ideological aims. So, advice from those leaders on steps the members can take to make the money that they pay to acheive those ends be more effective is consistent with the job those members are paying the professional staff of the organization to do. And the members of the Sierra Club and FSF aren't dependent on those organizations, generally, for their livelihood.

          AT&T employees aren't, as a general rule, voluntarily paying AT&T management to help them defeat net neutrality, and are, OTOH, dependent on AT&T for their jobs, so the circumstances aren't even remotely parallel.

        • You do know that there is a difference between "member of an organization" and "employee", right?

    • Re:So? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mwvdlee (775178) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:43PM (#29815161) Homepage

      Yet millions of people send chain e-mails every single day.

      Sure the CEO can't tell anybody followed his suggestion, but how many people actually KNOW he can't?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Trails (629752)
        Actually, he can tell. You see, Bill Gates has developed a new email tracking software, so if you forward that to the fcc, you could win $100,000
    • It doesn't matter where the urging comes from since it's not like the CEO can tell that you've followed his suggestion or not.

      In many circumstances where the government asks people to comment (e.g. changes to SEC rules), all comments, along with names are made public.

      So yes, they probably can tell.

    • Re:So? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pugugly (152978) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @06:53PM (#29816025)

      Of course, this *is* AT&T, a company that was allowed to get away with blatant violations of the law and snooping on American citizens without a warrant.

      In fact, the one thing we know with absolute certainty is that they *can* tell if the employees have followed the CEO's suggestion.

      Oh, yeah . . that. . .

      Pug

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @07:45PM (#29816547) Homepage

      What's the big deal?

      Preaching politics on the company dime is right up there with promoting religion during office hours. It's your employer abusing their captive audience. If you don't go along, you could be seen as not being a team player. You're getting paid to do a job, not be a political pawn. It worked so well for the health insurance companies, having their employees out acting like dickwads at public meetings. Be sure and remind them to change their employer branded clothing to look more like a real grassroots uprising.

      And it was wrong. I remember when the internet went private. I didn't hear AT&T or any of the others complaining about all that new infrastructure and business they inherited. Now that the system needs major upgrades no one wants to pony up. Instead they want to find ways to tax traffic, make money without making any additional investment. The Wall Street model. Net neutrality rules threaten that grand plan. They might not be able to cover those multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses. Oh, noes!

      Tell you what, if those circuits are that unprofitable, sell them and get out of the infrastructure business. No one owes AT&T a living. If it's too tough out there, get into banking. Corporate whiners are the worst.

  • by Michael G. Kaplan (1517611) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:34PM (#29815017)

    AT&T urged its employees to post on the FCC's net neutrality website. You can do the same, you have until Thursday to post.

    http://openinternet.gov/ [openinternet.gov]

    • I posted in this thread, so I can't mod you up.

      Hopefully other mods will.
    • Apparently slashdotted - unless my ISP is blocking me!!
      (& thanks for the link!!)
    • There is a good deal of self-evident irony in an 'Open Internet' site run by the FCC and not prepared for lots of visitors. I worry that the site is slowing down under a deluge of AT&T employees attempting to access it and run their FUD amok.

    • by rho (6063)

      Why is it called "Open Internet"?

      If the FCC regulates the Internet's backbones, even in the name of "preserving a free and open Internet," they'll have to monitor the Internet. Somehow.

      When did nerds start salivating over the FCC acting as an Internet gatekeeper? Are they really that pissed off at AT&T for not letting them use Skype on their iPhones? Or whatever?

    • Your link won't load.

      the front page loads but this specific link does not.

      I'm tempted to jump to the conclusion of major ISP blockage, but I just tried from a dutch proxy and it appears the page really is totally hosed.

    • by Eil (82413)

      Well, you could if the site wasn't down due to a database error. :(

    • by socsoc (1116769)
      Did you not see that part that says "The FCC has not yet begun an official proceeding on this topic. Accordingly, postings on this site at this time may not be included in the Commission’s official record of its proceedings"
  • by jlechem (613317) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:34PM (#29815023) Homepage Journal
    But my wife received a letter from her Employer asking her to lobby her congress/senate folks on behalf of the health care debate. She didn't feel comfortable doing it at all and told her boss so. What you do at your home should be purely divorced from your work. I'm sure there are some places where this doesn't hold, but I think most office drone jobs don't apply. I think it's pure bullshit and someone should call their sorry asses on the carpet for it. I'll vote or lobby whoever the fuck I want and however I see fit.
    • She didn't feel comfortable doing it at all and told her boss so.

      Maybe not the smartest move on her part.

      She should keep a record of any and all conversations on the topic, in case it comes back to bite her.

      Out of curiosity, who initiated the conversation with her boss about whether or not she took action?

    • "What you do at your home should be purely divorced from your work."

      Funny. Spoken like someone who's never been paged at home before... And about the healthcare debate too! :)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @06:16PM (#29815563)

      What you do at your home should be purely divorced from your work.

      I agree 100%

      A couple years ago I had a similar situation happen to me. It was suggested in a mass-email to comment on an anti-spam law, except to do so against the bill (IE to favor spamming)

      This sort of took me by surprise, as I worked in the IT department, and at the time we did NO email advertisements, nor used any services to do so. So I figured, why on earth would this be the case unless A) we planned to spam, or B) the boss simply didn't understand the matter.

      I made the same asumption. What I do on my own time and from my own email address is not work. If they want that time, or those resources (email), they are damn sure going to pay me for them.

      I silently ignored the request.

      Half a year or so went by and I forgot all about it. I came in on a Monday to learn that the FCC comment postings are public record, and you can lookup the email/name of everyone that posted.
      Needless to say, my name was no where to be found.

      At this point I was given some team player speech and told why in pretty blunt terms. After explaining why I do not agree, and that it would be a death sentence for our company to advertise that way.

      Boss made the stupid mistake of explaining the errors of my ways in email.
      He asked me to resign, which I refused. The next day I was fired.

      Fortunately for me, this is not a valid reason to terminate someones employment, and I got a nice settlement out of the lawsuit to live on before finding my next job.

      Oddest part of the whole story, that company STILL does not spam that I can tell, or that any of my ex-coworkers in their IT department know of. I am left with the belief that the boss had other reasons for this, not related to that company.
      Who knows what type of business he does on the side after all.

      In the end, I am very happy with the new job I found, and have no regrets over what happened.

      Just thought I would share.

      • by GIL_Dude (850471) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @07:40PM (#29816493) Homepage
        It really depends where in the world you live. For example, what you describe could easily happen in some states in the US. Other states though are "at will employment" states where you can be fired for darn near anything as long as it isn't on the list of "things you are restricted from discriminating against people for" (for example stupidity isn't on the list and "not liking SPAM" isn't on the list). You could be fired for the lame reason you were fired in a state like say California and there would be no settlement over it.
    • But my wife received a letter from her Employer asking her to lobby her congress/senate folks on behalf of the health care debate. She didn't feel comfortable doing it at all and told her boss so.

      I think most companies have certain social or political beliefs, and it's reasonable to expect they might want to ask their employees to help out, whether that's contributing time or money to a charity, signing a petition, or even writing a letter to Congress. It's just as reasonable to expect that a certain numb

    • "What you do at your home should be purely divorced from your work."

      You spend 40 hours a week at work, and the money you make a work provides for all your material needs at home. I don't see how the two could possibly be divorced. I'm not sure why that would be a desirable situation in any case. You shouldn't invest a lot of time in a company like AT&T if you feel that their economic and political goals are in disagreement with what you think is right.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Stiletto (12066)

        I get all the food for my family from a regional supermarket chain. They're the reason I can EAT. Does this mean my political views should align with the president of the supermarket's?

        No. Work is just somewhere I happen to trade my time for money.

  • There FCC! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NoYob (1630681) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:36PM (#29815057)
    Subtract 300,000 from the tally of folks who are against Net Neutrality!

    Actually, subtract 1.2 million because the American family averages 4 people and you know that every AT&T employee will have their spouse and 2 kids lobby. And, if you include the bogus ones that are named for the dog, well, the numbers just keep growing.

    Let's just put it this way, every letter against Net Neutrality is bogus because of this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by CrazyJim1 (809850) *
      What, people's voices don't count once they've been influenced by others? If so, we have to rethink this whole democracy thing.
      • by iammani (1392285)
        The word you are looking for is 'forced', not 'influenced'. And it can no longer be called a democracy.
      • What, people's voices don't count once they've been influenced by others? If so, we have to rethink this whole democracy thing.

        modded funny, but the irony is that while the media remains in the hands of the powerful and ever-increasingly few, democracy cannot work, as it depends on the ability of citizens to be informed.

        For examples of the failures of democracy, see: any nation in which murdoch's news outlets have gained any modicum of reputation.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:48PM (#29815235)
    If you don't like it, see figure 1!!! [cs.tut.fi]
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:48PM (#29815237)

    Coming from one of the company's most senior executives, it's hard to imagine AT&T employees thinking the memo was merely a suggestion.

    When I've worked for large companies, the further up the chain the less likely I'd be to care whatsoever what it said. That makes this even less of a suggestion, and more like a wish, that anyone may or may not fulfill (or in fact even read as this sounds like a message I would have just skipped over). It's not like a "high level exec" is going to come by the office next Monday and ask how the letter to the FCC is coming!

    I don't see anything wrong with a "high level exec" or anyone else saying that if you care about the issue, contact your congressman. Who are YOU to say that all employees agree with what he wants them to say? Meanwhile he has pointed out to them just who to talk to, one way or the other.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      My experience of senior executives of multinational corporations is that they a) think they're god, b) think they own you, c) expect you to do what they tell you and d) assume laws and morals don't apply to them.

      oh, and e) actually *deserve* those bonuses. lol.

      • Yes and they also think you pay attention to what you say, but that does not make any of what you said true... Mostly Harmless.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by adwarf (1002867)
      Exactly, the CEO tells people things that are important to your company (and thus your job in the sense that if the company does poorly you might be out of one). They assume that their employees are interested in opportunities to help support their company, which may not be true. I get these all the time, if I bother to read them I certainly think of them as a suggestion and nothing more. Now if you were a high level employee and were found out you were lobbying against the interest of the company that
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Becasue when management starts applying pressure for you to be a team player people will write the email, and possible CC it to their boss.

      really, management telling people to get involved inj one side of a political issue is bad form.

      • Becasue when management starts applying pressure for you to be a team player people will write the email, and possible CC it to their boss.

        That all sounds very frightening!!!

        Until you click on the link and realize it's just a web form (the email is just to say who you are, though I didn't see the form required it). Plus they asked you to post from home, remember? So they can't even track access to the form or your email.

        Honestly, how many people would even read the email much less be such a tool as to CC

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:51PM (#29815273)

    I'm a Verizon employee and received an email sent to basically all different sub-companies and departments about this. They even created a theme site about it, how to take action in different ways...

    Will be trying to switch job soon.

    • by NoYob (1630681) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:58PM (#29815389)
      I see.

      John, I'm a Verizon internet cop. Put you hands on your monitor, spread your legs, and wait for the Verizon security team to show up.

      Thank you for your cooperation.

      P.S. You really didn't think that posting as an "AC" would hide your identity from us did you?!

    • "Will be trying to switch job soon."

      Perhaps the FCC will assist you changing careers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Why not just ignore it? Of course the company is looking out for its own interests, is this somehow a surprise to you? Were you so naive when you accepted the job that you thought that they /wouldn't/?
    • Will be trying to switch job soon.

      Why? Do you believe that the competition will be any different? Are they going to track you down and find out that you ignored their suggestion to lobby from a personal non-work e-mail account? You can probably ignore the e-mail and life will still go on. Have no illusions that the system isn't corrupt because it absolutely is corrupt; in fact, its rotten to the core. This why I smirk whenever I hear President Obama talk about how the government is going to root out waste and become the salvation of our eco

  • This is the only sort of lobbying that should be allowed
    (imnsho)

    A.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I agree. AT&T and Verizon should be forbidden from donating money or sending lobbyists into Congress, but if the individual human beings want to do the former, then I have no problem with it. Corporations should not have a right to free speech, but people should.

      • by DaHat (247651)

        > Corporations should not have a right to free speech, but people should.

        In fairness... which other groups do you want to ban from the right to free speech and lobbying? Unions? Trade associations? Interest groups? Groups of more than 5?

        • ALL of them. Free speech rights are for human beings (i.e. individuals). Giving rights to XYZ Group makes about as much sense as giving it to a rock or tree.

      • by selven (1556643)

        I disagree - corporations should be allowed to complain all they want. It's political contributions that are the problem. And lobbyists "discussing their concerns" with politicians over a table in a $20,000-per-seat restaurant.

        • >>>corporations should be allowed to complain all they want. It's political contributions that are the problem.

          But if you allow corporations the right to complain (free speech), then you also give them the right to make contributions which, according to the Supreme Court, is another form of speech. In order to stop the latter you have to completely revoke Microsoft, Comcast, or others free speech right. For corporations advertising and self-promotion will be a revocable *privilege* not a right.

          • by selven (1556643)

            A financial transaction is protected speech? I really have to doubt that unless given strong evidence.

      • by aaandre (526056)

        Unfortunately, corporations make the laws for you and not the other way around. So soon, you will have no right for free speech, while corporations will (even if it's just because they will own all critical mediums, and if you don't like it then well, just don't use the mediums).

      • by socsoc (1116769)

        the individual human beings

        Is this Idiocracy?

  • by bobs666 (146801) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:57PM (#29815365)
    We need to do the last mile our selves. The FCC needs to do there job and give people the right to put our wireless router on the roof and forward local traffic. Until then its communications by the monopoly for the monopoly. We can not get a competition between ISPs until the last mile can be done without total control between 1 or 3 super providers.

    After that, perhaps a work program can be set up to run backbone lines as a way to make jobs for people out of work. It's all about creating the infrastructure.
  • now the FCC can just set a spam filter to trash ever email with the keyword "net neutrality" and go forward in implementing legislation enforcing net neutrality for all common carriers and anyone that breaks net neutrality will be find double and lose common carrier status.
  • trouble if they do this. management telling employees what to do regarding political matters is risky. Ass soon as a few employees claim to feel pressured, their will be a lawsuit.

  • From the FCC comments, this was too good not to repost here - credit to Len Grace, apparently with Cable Digital News:

    The Federal Communications Commission recently led discussions on proposed Net Neutrality Rules including, broadband speeds to be adopted for those companies using federal dollars to upgrade their networks. This comes at the same time the FCC is proposing to provide the underpinnings of a governmental mandate to; serve the underserved.

    This is yet another dangerous road the FCC is attemptin

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      What scares Wall Street more than anything is the prospect of heavy regulation that will stifle investment opportunities.

      You're right. Wall Street is going to have to choose between investment opportunities at AT&T and investment opportunities in content-producing corporations. Given the utter inability of the majority of Wall Street to think beyond next quarter's earning reports, I have full faith that they will choose to invest in AT&T, and once the steams, youtubes and itunes of the world close

    • We already have cable television. It's awful. If you think that ESPN360 is really the next stage in innovation on the internet, you seriously misunderstand what makes the internet special.

      The framework contains "Reasonable Network Management" language. It's more than I would compromise, and more than these companies deserve, but it's there.

      Your talking points basically amount to a threat: If backbones and ISPs are not allowed to alter or degrade traffic based on their business relationship with those hostin

  • Yes and no (Score:3, Informative)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc.paradise@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @07:00PM (#29816093) Homepage Journal

    "Coming from one of the company’s most senior executives, it’s hard to imagine AT&T employees thinking the memo was merely a suggestion."

    We get periodic emails along similar lines, couched as suggestions, in the large bank in which I am a cog. Know what happens? The vast majority of our 10s of thousands of employees just ignore them. They often get lost in the daily email noise. I suspect that the people at AT&T are no different. And surprise! no repercussions, because they /are/ just suggestions.

    I don't like this in any way (it also irritates me when they do it at work), but to imply that people are somehow being coerced into actually doing as stated in the email it is its own kind of aggravating. Try to give us drones some credit, eh?

    Now pardon me, I've got to go -- I almost forgot to write out my monthly check to our PAC!

  • From TFA:

    In the letter, he offered several talking points.
    1.Wireless consumers enjoy a many options for mobile services...

    Tall about your Freudian slip!

  • by T Murphy (1054674) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:12PM (#29816913) Journal
    I'm looking at the comments on the OpenInternet.gov site- I am not surprised at the responses, although they are as depressing as they can get. Many comments are along the lines of this one:

    The free and open part of it is the best thing going. Please do not screw it up with regulations like the net neutrality proposal.

    People have no clue what net neutrality is, and just assume it's government regulation that will make things worse. Hopefully some influential people on our side reads those comments and understands what these people really mean. Otherwise the overwhelming majority of responses are against net neutrality, which is not the kind of backing we want the big corps to have.

  • In my twenty-something years as an employee I have never seen this sort of corporate "suggestion". I'm in Australia. I mainly worked for Australian companies, but have worked in a subsidiary of a very large US company. I see a few concrete examples in the replies so far, but they all seem to be US residents. Does this crap happen outside of the US?
  • back in 04 we were sent letters telling us that if Bush was not elected, our business would go bankrupt.

    I work for an ISP.

  • by ShooterNeo (555040) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:41PM (#29817291)

    The general meme I have seen most places is that "Net Neutrality" is the only way to go. However, I have to ask, if your ISP promises to treat all data streams equally, how are services that need guaranteed low latency going to work?

    For most internet activities, such as watching youtube videos, downloading or uploading large files, and viewing web pages, a second or two of latency is no big deal. The ISP can give you bandwidth when it has it to spare.

    However, for things like online gaming, Video and audio chat, and ESPECIALLY for cloud gaming services, latency is CRITICAL. The ISP needs to allocate the highest priority to transmitting these packets without any delay. Even if it has to push back or pause requests from other applications. No, a bigger pipe is not the answer : bandwidth will always be a scarce commodity, and your ISP needs to be able to make sure that certain services always have enough.

    You'd have to run a client on your machine or something to specify or sign a particular packet stream as needing low latency communications. The ISP would either meter your total "low latency" bandwidth for a month or limit how much bandwidth/second it could use up.

    Doing it this way might not be network neutral, but it's THE way to make services like cloud gaming and video chat work smoothly and without problems.

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