AT&T Rewrites Rules: Your Data Isn’t Yours

delivered nsa
(image courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Wow. Not only did AT&T (now the megacompany that includes SBC and Bell South and what was AT&T) collaborate freely and without court order with the NSA’s spying program of eavesdropping on both the phone calls and possibly the internet traffic and activity of American citizens, but now they’ve changed their own privacy rules to get around that whole “confidential information” and “personal privacy” thing. I know, I know, it’s pretty pesky from AT&T’s standpoint, so why not just get around it entirely by saying that AT&T owns your personal and confidential data, not you, and they can use it for whatever they choose?

No, I’m not kidding. From today’s SFGate:

AT&T has issued an updated privacy policy that takes effect Friday. The changes are significant because they appear to give the telecom giant more latitude when it comes to sharing customers’ personal data with government officials.

The new policy says that AT&T — not customers — owns customers’ confidential info and can use it “to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process.”

The policy also indicates that AT&T will track the viewing habits of customers of its new video service — something that cable and satellite providers are prohibited from doing.

Moreover, AT&T (formerly known as SBC) is requiring customers to agree to its updated privacy policy as a condition for service — a new move that legal experts say will reduce customers’ recourse for any future data sharing with government authorities or others.

Amazing. I’m sure the lawsuits will flow over this one, but in the time it takes for them to run their course, AT&T is essentially being allowed to do whatever it chooses with whatever data they can get from their customers, without any promise of privacy, security, or confidentiality-a new low for any American company, much less a company as large and massive at AT&T.

[ SFGate :: AT&T Rewrites Rules: Your Data Isn’t Yours ]

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