Ma Bell Lies, Betrays Customers

We are now in a kind of Alice in Wonderland world in which routine trust between businesses, customers and government is no longer automatic. This is one of the many costs of letting Big Brother off his leash. We will never leash him again.

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsShort version: We be screwed. — jtl, 419

 

By Philippe Gastonne via The Daily Bell

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1) The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3)The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.

 Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewWhile it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.”

Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps InstituteAT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013. AT&T has given the N.S.A. access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks. It provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order permitting the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the United Nations headquarters, a customer of AT&T. – New York Times, Aug. 15, 2015

Combat Shooter's HandbookThe line between government and private business is often fuzzy, but for AT&T it seems almost invisible. Asked by the National Security Agency to help spy on American citizens, the company apparently jumped at the opportunity. So did other telecom providers, but AT&T sounds like it was especially eager.

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersMore than two years after Edward Snowden spilled the beans, it is no longer surprising to learn the NSA intercepted private communications and metadata. Everyone knows, or should know, that the government captures and stores detailed records of our online activities. Most Americans seem not to care. Someday they will – but that’s another subject.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualToday we will review another interesting consequence: the government now permits and even encourages companies to lie to their customers and violate contracts. This, too, may have been happening for some time, but it is growing more evident.

Cloud data companies like Google and Microsoft make many claims to security and privacy, but their terms of use still say they will cooperate with government data requests when required by law. That’s bothersome, but AT&T did more than just follow orders. The company turned its customer betrayal division into a profit center, earning as much as $189 million in a single year from NSA.

The story also explains how AT&T gave NSA access to all internet traffic at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The UN was an AT&T customer at the time. We don’t know the contract terms, but presumably the UN did not knowingly grant AT&T power to give away its data.

“So what?” you might say. The UN is itself an immoral agency. True, but AT&T almost certainly betrayed other customers whom NSA found interesting, simply ignoring whatever contracts or other obligations may stand in the way. One such customer could be you.

More bluntly, if you are an AT&T customer, it is very likely that the company you pay each month lied to you in the past and is still doing so. Moreover, they will refuse to answer if you ask whether they are betraying your confidence to the U.S. government or other governments. Your only recourse is to take your telecom business to, say, Verizon, but there you will find the same situation.

AT&T shareholders should take note, too. This activity may be a material risk to the company’s future that it did not disclose in regulatory filings. That would be securities fraud, which is normally a federal crime. Good luck getting the government to prosecute anyone, though.

We are now in a kind of Alice in Wonderland world in which routine trust between businesses, customers and government is no longer automatic. This is one of the many costs of letting Big Brother off his leash. We will never leash him again.

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The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThe Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits. Although woven around the experiences and adventures of one man, this is also the story of the people who lived during the period of time in American history that an entire generation was betrayed It is the story of the dramatically changing times in which this personal odyssey took place. It is the story of the betrayal of an entire generation of Americans and particularly the 40% (of the military aged males) of that generation that fought the Vietnam war.

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About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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