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Why does Molly hate at&t so?

by mdstout58 / June 28, 2006 1:34 AM PDT

Why does Molly hate them so? Come on they are not stealing everything. And the whole phone data stuff? If you have nothing to hide, why are we all so concerned? Shouldn't we be happy that they are helping prevent crime?

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I, also, have noticed a very anti-phone company attitude
by cardsbb9 / June 28, 2006 1:54 AM PDT

Not only on the part of Molly, but in forum discussion with Tom I have noticed an extreme anti-phone company bias.

Having worked for a phone company (not AT&T) I have seen the kinds of data we are talking about. In the business it is called 'CDR' for Call Detail Record. It is data that is created by the 'switch' (think of a 'switch' as a huge server) and is used by the phone company for billing and for network analysis.

The CDRs contain info about what station called what other station, how the call was routed, how long the call lasted, and if any special services were utilized.

I do not view this data as private data. The raw data is never seen by the consumer. A derivative of that data in seen after it has been processed for billing purposes, yes. But it isn't "your" data, it is data created by the telecom 'switch' for their purposes.

I view data about your telecom and internet 'behaviour' as public data. To me, you 'leave' the sanctity of your privacy when you go 'outside' your residence, be that in physical from or electronic. Data about what I do on my LAN in my house I consider private as it never leaves my residence. But once I put myself 'on the internet' or 'across the phone lines' it is like I have left my residence and am now traversing a public pathway.

Cops do not need a warrant to 'stake out' your house and observer your comings and goings. I do not think it is a violation of 'privacy' to observe your electronic 'coming and goings' either.

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Anti Big Company
by harrietj / June 28, 2006 2:48 AM PDT

It seems if a company becoms to succesfull, they get on Molly's hit list.

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AT&T - the monster that wouldn't die
by MacHugger / June 28, 2006 8:00 AM PDT

This diagram shows how AT&T managed to do a reverse around the original government breakup and reconstitute itself into the monster it used to be. It's pretty amazing:

People have good reason to fear the power of this company.


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Because how far is too far!
by robstak / June 28, 2006 10:31 AM PDT

I think this has been emphasized on the podcasts, but "There has to be a limit!" Telcos, piracy, child porn, etc.

Noone wants piracy, terrorism, or child porn; everyone is agreed on that. The problematic issue arises when you start to go to such lengths to prevent these things that you impinge on your rights as a citizen ie your right to privacy.

The perennial debate is where do we strike the balance, and I think this is a 'punishment must fit the crime' thing. The worse the problem is, the more likely i am to be ok with violation of my own rights. agreed?

I think the problem the BOL ppl are raising is that the 'punishment is too big for the crime' and i tend to side with them for the aformentioned situations.

The solution, I believe, would have to involve changing the approach to the situations. i think it's just easier to invade privacy than to think of an original way to catch pirates, terrorists and pornographers and that's why it has been done, and I think thats lazy and is total BS.


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Too far?
by cardsbb9 / June 28, 2006 2:51 PM PDT

If we have taken 'invasion of privacy' too far then there has to be some actual loss of property or physical harm done to you because of this 'invasion on privacy', right?

So, what actual loss of property or physical harm have you come to because of it? hmmm?

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I disagree
by robstak / June 29, 2006 8:34 AM PDT
In reply to: Too far?

invasion doesn't neccesitate seizure; to me, it simply means intrusion.

but this is what I'm saying, this whole debate exisits because people draw the line in differnet places and everyone is entitled to their opinion so it just winds up being a circular arguement.

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(NT) (NT) Nuh-Uhh! (no, YOU are!)
by cardsbb9 / June 29, 2006 9:11 AM PDT
In reply to: I disagree
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Molly put it best...
by dmdzine / June 28, 2006 4:53 PM PDT

...when she said (and I paraphrase) "I feel like I'm in a war with every company in my life". I wholeheartedly agree with her on that aspect. I don't think this is as much "anti-AT&T" as it is a valid concern about our privacy when using these utility companies.

The fact is that the recently mentioned problematic companies (AT&T, MS and now Comcast), have not or do not clarify on the information they've collected. MS & AT&T have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and are now coming up with "policies" to defend their previous actions. I don't think AT&T would have changed their privacy policy had it not been for the "secret NSA room" exposure. These companies have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted, which is why I believe we are justified in our concern and resentment of this behavior.

The definition of "private information" may be up for debate in this forum, but it's clear to me that the treatment I receive today WAS NOT the treatment I expected when I signed up for the service. Had I known the attitudes these companies had about my information, I would have seriously reconsidered my subscription options. I don't think it's wrong to feel deceived and betrayed by these companies.

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YOUR informaton? Huh?
by cardsbb9 / June 28, 2006 5:13 PM PDT
In reply to: Molly put it best...

I just do not understand why people think that Call Detail Records are _their_ information.

The lines are owned by the telcos, the switches are the telcos.

Let me put it this way. Lets say there is a rich man in town who has a large property and a very long driveway on it. You drive your car on the driveway belonging to the rich man. Along the way you turn on your windshield wipers. The man in his house uses a telescope and counts the number of times your wipers swish back and forth. Is that 'your' data? or does it belong to the man on who's property you are traveling?

See the analogy? The property you are 'traveling on' (the lines) belong to the telco. If they make observations about what you do while traveling on their property how in the world is that an invasion of 'your' privacy?

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A better analogy
by cardsbb9 / June 28, 2006 5:22 PM PDT
In reply to: YOUR informaton? Huh?

I work in a downtown office. Nearby is a drugsore and since it is in a downtown area there is a concern about crime (shoplifting, etc).

The store owners have installed TV cameras all around the store to enable them to watch what the customers are doing. This is not an invasion of your 'privacy' because you are on their property of your own chosing.

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Another anology
by dmdzine / June 28, 2006 5:36 PM PDT
In reply to: A better analogy

Your analogies are good, but at the same time how could you apply this to the Postal Service (or FedEx/UPS)? I sent a love-letter to my girlfriend. Because I sent it through Pony Express, is it no longer my expectation for her to receive the letter unopened? Because I put it in the mailbox is it not my property (or my girlfriend's anymore)?

I'm not a lawyer, but I believe the Postal Service/FedEx probably does have the right to open my letter if it's deemed suspicious and does have cause - but my EXPECTATION by using their service is that they will not disturb, track or retain my letter.

I am willing to grant the Postal Service leverage to bend the expectation of privacy - if my letter had powder on it, or was addressed to a mountain in Afghanistan. Applying this analogy I would be willing for the phone data to be collected if you're calling known terrorists or are suspected of such activities - but to blindly collect EVERYONE'S information (or force everyone to install WGA on EVERYONE's machine) violates my expectation of privacy.

We wouldn't tolerate it if every envelope in our mailbox was already opened - why should we be willing to accept that every call we make, every web site we visit, every computer I turn on - is tracked?

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Good analogy and question
by cardsbb9 / June 28, 2006 10:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Another anology

And there is a good answer.

You are right, the contents of your letter should be considered private. However the fact that you sent the letter, from where you sent it, to whom you sent it, what date you sent it, and how heavy it is (how much postage was needed) are not private.

Therefore the exact same logic applies to phone calls.

The fact you made a call, from where you made the call, to where you made the call, the date and time you initiated the call, and how long the call lasted are not private, but what you said and what the other person said are private.

The CDRs that are (sometimes) given to the government to mine data looking for terrorist activities do not contain what was said in the phone call, just the data that is not private.

It is the same with the OTC drugs and other stuff I buy at the drugstore. What I do with it is private. The fact that I bought it, how much I bought, and when are not (as that is observed by the drugstore).

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by dmdzine / June 29, 2006 3:01 AM PDT

That's an interesting analogy and I do agree with you in principle.

However I revert back to my point that based on recent events and their previous lack of disclosure - these companies cannot be trusted with this information.

I also do believe that the consumer has a right to opt-out of this service, and these policies being retroactively binding is a bunch of crap.

AT&T let the NSA in their HQ, then when found out adjusted the privacy policy to retroactively cover their butts. When I purchased Windows XP I had no idea that 4 5 years down the road MS would force me to install a tool that would contact MS without my disclosure to determine whether I was a criminal. I am a Comcast High-Speed subscriber, and six months ago I had no idea that my internet activity would be retained until now.

This "passive approval" approach is what I have a problem with. If AT&T wants to introduce this tracking GOING FORWARD, then fine - it's my right to cancel the service. If MS announces they will incorporate WGA into Vista that would be acceptable. It's my right to know what I'm getting into, and not be forced to predict the future.

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Retroactive policy
by cardsbb9 / June 29, 2006 4:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Answer

Yeah, the 'retroactive' stuff looks like they got the lawyers involved.

But are you saying that you ever had an agreement with ATT (or a published company policy) that said that they would not or could not use the CDR data to support law enforcement or other government requests?

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by dmdzine / June 29, 2006 5:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Retroactive policy

No, I have not seen such an agreement - but my point is if they are going to use CDR data in a blanket fashion, you should have a right to know and opt-out of the service. If I canceled my AT&T service the second they changed their policy, my past data would still be considered theirs as per their policy. That's what irritates me.

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If what happens on phone lines are "public".....
by toulouse2k / June 28, 2006 10:13 PM PDT
In reply to: A better analogy

....then why do investigators need court orders for wiretapping? Whoops, wait a minute, based on what I've seen in the news this past year, maybe they don't.

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by cardsbb9 / June 28, 2006 10:36 PM PDT

Wiretapping provides the government with the contents of the conversation, and that is private.

What is not private is if you made a call or not (see the answer I made to the other analogy).

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(NT) (NT) Also, no one is forcing you to use these services
by mdstout58 / June 29, 2006 5:02 AM PDT
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(NT) (NT) Ask the NSA
by 3bose / June 29, 2006 5:09 AM PDT
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(NT) (NT) NSA: No Such Agency
by SantiagoCrespo / June 29, 2006 5:22 AM PDT
In reply to: (NT) Ask the NSA
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I'm sick of all the "Molly Hates" posts!
by SantiagoCrespo / June 29, 2006 5:21 AM PDT

Molly hates Apple, Molly Hates AT&T, Molly hates whatever. Enough Already!
What Molly hates is strictly her business; this is an opinion podcast, where the hosts discuss their points of view on current tech news.
I don't believe Molly actually hates Apple, I think she bashes it because Apple is such an easy target with all their "white, chrome, perfection" marketing, they're bound to get b-slapped by BOL, TWiT, and any other person out there when they screw up. That's actually what makes Google bashing so easy too. Microsoft is tougher though, because they KNOW they're evil, and they don't care.
As for AT&T with altering their privacy policy, I think they're an easy target too, because between the warrant-less wiretapping and all the companies just handing their stuff on a silver platter, they're the perfect sitting duck.

Having ranted enough let me get back to the presented topic. I don't want to sound like a paid-for sycophant, but I seriously doubt a highly educated journalist just plain HATES stuff, she rants (a lot) about many topics, but that doesn't make her a hater.
Basically, let's just cut it out with the Molly Hates or Veronica Hates posts, they're just inane and prone to flame wars, which nobody appreciates, since it decreases our value as a user community.

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Geez sorry
by mdstout58 / June 30, 2006 4:17 AM PDT

I'm not saying that yall completely HATE them, there just seems to be a "high rate of criticism" towards them.

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I think....
by dro0001 / June 30, 2006 12:43 PM PDT

Even though Molly may not "hate" these things, sometimes she comes off like she does. Molly has very strong opinions on things like AT&T, Apple, etc., and she never really gives any voice to the other side of the story (that is where Tom comes in). There seems to be very little middle ground on these topics with Molly...and there is nothing wrong with that. However, people shouldn't get upset when her strong positions are noted.

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