Because legal entities are capable of worse crimes than their corporeal counterparts.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What The Fuck: AT&T/iPhone Edition

Don't believe the hype.

This post is about AT&T (formerly known as Cingular, formerly known as AT&T, formerly known as Southwestern Bell Corporation (Bell or SBC), formerly known as American Telephone and Telegraph [which sounds a lot like AT&T, doesnt it?] ). I decided on this corporation because of the hype behind Apple's soon-to-be-released iPhone.

I'd post a bunch of pictures and videos of the iPhone here, but chances are you're inundated with such things, and can find them on other websites. I know that of all the times I've passed the TV downstairs in the last week or so, I've seen iPhone commercials on about 20% of the time -- which is a lot, given that I'm just passing it.

If you don't already know, when you pick up that shiny new iPhone for $499 or $599, depending on what size hard drive you get, you're required to get at two year service contract with AT&T, one of the largest telecommunication corporations in the country. AT&T is a corporation so fully associated with telecomm throughout their history that their NYSE trade symbol is simply 'T.'

I won't bore you with all of the boring details of the history of this giant, their innovations in telecomm, the monopolies, the splits, the mergers, and all that stuff. The company is through and through a classic definition of a corporation. Given that it has such a strong history in telecomm, it was one of the first monopolies, and it was a "natural" monopoly. Don't take my word for it; the entirety of the internet is at your fingertips. Do a little research.

About a year ago, AT&T changed their privacy policy to say that they own your confidential information, not you. A year ago, when this happened, if you wanted to get out of your service contract, you could, because of this fundamental change to the user/company agreement. So you know, whenever a company changes something like this, you're free to drop the service, no matter how much time you have left on it. It's a nice way to quit.

Back to the matter at hand -- do you really want to spend two years with a company who values your privacy so little that they consider your confidential information theirs? I know the iPhone is shiny and pretty, but...fuck.

Do a little research, decide whether or not it's worth the $600, two years, and loss of civil liberty, and remember that for now, a phone is still, really, just a phone. When we have total convergence of communication and entertainment mediums in a few years, get back to me. For now, just put your boner away, technogeek. And think.


Mathew said...

I'm shopping for a new computer right now, and in looking at Apple I noticed that this summer college students who buy a new macbook get a rebate for a free IPod to go along with it. Everything I need for school, right?

I don't own an IPod, yet. When I was in Belgium a year ago, there was hubub about a young man who was knifed in the Brussels metro for his unwillingness to swiftly give the neatly crafted identity sold to him through silhouetted hips and big colors.

I pledged never to give in.

Now, I suppose, if I ever end up with one, I'd trade in the tell tale white ear buds for some bulky backbackin' hiphop stereotype headphones so not give myself away.

Now, the idea of owning an IPOD makes me think about the possibly negative side effects of listening to music all the time. What thoughts am I going to miss out on? Exactly what will I indoctrinating myself with through these whiny lovelorn songwriters and get money, get money million dollar grill music I'd most likely be filling this thing with?

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