CORPORATE RULE: CHARGING YOU FOR PRIVACY
This article I simply have to pass along, for it's a lesson - a "case study" as they'd say in business or management schools - in what happens when you give your support to the looney-tunes visions of David Rockefailure or Edmund de Rottenchild or any of the other super-rich financial crapitalist predators that have too much time on their hands and who want their big Corporations to rule the world. This article was shared by Mr. C.S., and it's well worth contemplating:
Now, in case you missed it, here it is:
A top AT&T executive says the company may soon return to charging consumers an additional fee to protect their privacy. Last year, you might recall AT&T quietly started charging between $531 and $800 more each year if customers wanted to opt out of AT&T’s Internet Preferences program, which uses deep-packet inspection to track and monetize user behavior around the Internet. AT&T was heavily criticized for the move, and ultimately stopped charging the extra fees — but only to help secure regulatory approval for its Time Warner merger.
But with AT&T getting every indication that its latest massive merger will be approved by Trump (despite a campaign promise to kill the deal), and AT&T having just successfully lobbied to kill consumer broadband privacy rules, the company says the “privacy surcharge” may be returning.
This will date me, but I couldn't help but think of the 1960s and 1970s television variety show, Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. For those of you as dated as I am, it brought back memories of Lily Tomlin's send-ups of the AT&T telephone operator. She would begin her routine at the switchboard, with a nasal-but-perfectly-elocuted question: "Hello? Is this the party to whom I am speaking?" On one such occasion, at the height of the Watergate crisis, she phoned the White House, asking - cluelessly - for a "Mr. Richard MILhaus Nix-on", and when he apparently answered, she immediately began to inquire why the phone bill had not been paid, and threatened to yank the White House's communications, then and there.
Of course, Mr. Nixon caved, and corporate America triumphed.
And that's the problem here: modern America has completely lost its senses, and with it, any understanding of the purpose of the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. The fundamental rights and liberties spoken of in those documents were for individual persons, not corporations. It took the 'recognition" of the corporate persona ficta of law to create the current mess, where the presumption of law and custom is not for the privacy of the individual, but for the intrusion of the corporate "data collector." Even the government itself - at least until the Clinton-Bush-Obama mafia shredded privacy and other rights under various measures - had to get search warrants.
Not so with Ma Bell, as big and powerful as she ever was when Ernestine pulled the plug on Mr. Nixon. AT&T wants to charge you for your privacy. This isn't even crapitalism; it's love of money, and greed. This isn't an American corporation acting in the interests of the American people; this is actually, in a certain sense, culturally treasonous, because it wants to charge you for a right recognized in the declaration of independence and in the Bill of Rights.
When Mr. C.S. sent this to me, he also made a trenchant observation: AT&T wants to charge you for your right to privacy, but they - like other corporations - probably have no intention of observing it, and cannot even deliver on that pledge anyway.
And besides that, would you trust them?
For me, personally, it's just another confirmation that I made the right decision not to have an ipad, cellphone, or even a pager. I do not want them spying on me, which they do via other means, but there's no reason I have to volunteer for more of it. It's time to start busting the information trusts and cartels: AT&T, Time-Warner, Facebook, Google... all of them. And above all, it's time to examine the whole doctrine of corporate personhood: if corporations are persons, and violate fundamental law, then punishments have to include something more than just fees they pass along to their victims in the form of higher prices, hidden fees, and so on.
See you on the flip side...
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