Verizon – This Really Worries Me

So, if Verizon decided to block or or, they now have self supplied permission. They can do it for any reason or no reason.

There’s a posting on, one of the techie sites I visit, about Verizon’s upcoming change to their Online Terms of Service. It is very scary – really, really scary.

…we have the right, but not the obligation, to pre-screen, refuse, move or remove any content available on the Service including, but not limited to, content that violates the law, our Terms of Service or our AUP.

AUP, in this case is Acceptable Use Policy.

So, if Verizon decided to block or or, they now have self supplied permission. They can do it for any reason or no reason.

Or, they could just place their ads on my site, or any site, before it gets to you.

I’m giving examples, but I have no idea what they would do, except to say they could do anything.

Throughout my lifetime, companies like Verizon have operated as common carriers. Here’s Wikipedia’s take on that:

An important legal requirement for common carrier as public provider is that it cannot discriminate, that is refuse the service unless there is some compelling reason (e.g post doesn’t allow to send cash). As of 2007, the status of telecommunication providers as common carriers and their rights and responsibilities is widely debated (network neutrality).

However, Verizon and other telecommunications providers like it aren’t businesses that opened and got saddled with these obligations. We allow them to erect their lines on our streets. We gave them (each incumbent wireline phone company) their original cell licenses.

We assume… I think we have a right to assume… they don’t inspect our communications across their network. We certainly wouldn’t allow it with their phone service. Is there really a difference here with this nascent form of carriage?

Don’t they have an obligation not to look over our shoulders?

I have written about Verizon in the past. Maybe you remember me quoting from Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon’s CEO, about cell service.

“Why in the world would you think your (cell) phone would work in your house?” he said. “The customer has come to expect so much. They want it to work in the elevator; they want it to work in the basement.”

Seidenberg said it’s not Verizon’s responsibility to correct the misconception by giving out statistics on how often Verizon’s service works inside homes or by distributing more detailed coverage maps, showing all the possible dead zones. He pointed out that there are five major wireless networks, none of which works perfectly everywhere.

I sense, if this becomes a mainstream news story, Verizon will relent. Sunlight is the great sanitizer.

Can they hear me now?

3 thoughts on “Verizon – This Really Worries Me”

  1. Verizon’s stuck-up attitude and spotty coverage in my home area is just one of the MANY reasons I dropped them recently and went with another carrier. Their attitude has earned them all the abuse they get, IMHO.

    And yes, you are right, I do expect their service to work correctly INSIDE my home. And when it does not, I find one that does.

    All else fails, Ham radio still gets through…

  2. All the isp’s are caving to pressure to stop peer to peer file sharing, this clause opens that door.

    For example, Comcast denies allegations that they throttled down user bandwidth if that user was suspected of p2p sharing. The sticky part of it was that it’s just bits of data passing though the system, and there’s no way they can actually prove whether those bytes add up to an illegal file share.

    I believe there are already copyright laws in place preventing them changing a site’s content as the data moves through their networks. Unless, you’re hosting your site on their network.

  3. Hi Geoff,

    I too, have had many instances where verizon scares me. The latest happened 2 months ago when I switched plans from a standard plan, with unlimited data plan (I have a pda phone) to their unlimited voice plan. A few days after I switched, I got their confirmation mail along with my new plan details. I noticed that previously I had the “Unlimited Data Package”. The new package I had for data was called “Unlimited Email”. I called them, even recorded the call in fact, and asked the representitive, who assured me it was unlimited data, everything was the same. I even emailed tech support, and got the same response, and of course I saved the email.

    A few weeks later I was using my phone to watch tv (I have a slingbox) and all of a sudden my data connection shut off and I couldn’t reconnect. When I got home I called them (and recorded the call). The rep told me that unlimited data meant 5GB, although he’s never seen anyone exceed that amount, and they call it unlimited simply because people don’t know what a GB is. I should send you the recording, it’s hillarious!

    Anyway, I told him that was false advertising, that I was going to be contacting the FCC about it, etc, and that I wanted to cancel my plan, and because of their false advertising I wasn’t paying any termination fees. He hung up on me!

    When I called back I got a different rep, and without explaining to her the first conversation, I told her everything. She too started with the “Well, you are using our network with applications that were not intended to be used”. I then explained to her that I had the recording of the previous representative and wanted to know if that was true or not, as I was contacting the FCC if it was.

    She put me on hold, and came back and said the previous representative was flat out wrong, it truly is unlimited. Of course, then I asked why, if it was unlimited, is there a problem using my slingbox application? She said “We would prefer you do not, as it does increase usage”. I said it is unlimited, however, correct, and I can use anything I want to on it, correct? And she reluctantly agreed.

    I haven’t had a problem sense, although with your above post, I have a feeling I may need to dig out those recordings again, as I’m sure that I will “exceed” my unlimited data usage quickly 🙁

    – Andre

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