AT&T has made a huge $25 million mistake. The New York Times reports that the Federal Communications Commission slammed AT&T with a massive $25 million fine on Wednesday for "failing to protect the personal information, including the Social Security numbers, of its customers." Essentially, employees at AT&T's call centers in three different countries stole roughly 300,000 customers' names and Social Security numbers and then sold them to third parties. That's obvious a very bad thing.
After employees at its call centers swiped personal info of nearly 280,000 customers, AT&T has to pay $25 million to settle with the FCC. The fine is a result of the carrier's "consumer privacy violations" at call centers in Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines, where employees nabbed names, social security numbers and account info without proper authorization. Stolen data was used to request unlock codes, which were then provided to a third party dealing in stolen and "secondary market" handsets. "As today's action demonstrates, the Commission will exercise its full authority against companies that fail to safeguard the personal information of their customers," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. In addition to the hefty fine, AT&T must notify all affected customers, in addition to providing credit monitoring services for those included in breaches in both Colombia and the Philippines. It must also appoint a senior compliance manager to keep an eye on things and file regular security reports with the FCC.
[Image credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
AT&T's attempt to turn the tables on the Federal Trade Commission's mobile data throttling lawsuit hasn't exactly worked out as planned. A federal judge has rejected the carrier's claims that it can't be sued because its status as a common carrier for voice, which exempts it from FTC oversight, also applies to data. This exception only applies to the services that they're meant to cover, according to the court -- while the Federal Communications Commission's upcoming net neutrality rules will factor in mobile data, they aren't in effect right now. The judge also says AT&T misrepresented the whole point of the rule. It's intended to prevent overlap between common carrier regulations, not (as the network suggested) regulations as a whole. In short, AT&T will have to deal with the consequences of limiting its unlimited data customers, whether that's a slap on the wrist or a serious change in policy.
[Image credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan]
Source: Ars Technica
Much like in real estate, sometimes the price you pay for Internet service simply boils down to location, location, location.
Earlier this week, AT&T rolled out their gigabit Internet service in Cupertino, right in Apple's backyard. Dubbed AT&T GigaPower, Ma Bell is offering blazing Internet speeds of 1Gbps for $110/month. Of course, if you just so happen to live in an area where Google Fiber is available, AT&T will lower the price to $70/month.
Boasting itself as “the industry’s first and only crowdsourced, customer-verified network coverage map”, T-Mobile is aiming to show new data bi-monthly to help you decide if it’s worth making the switch.... Read the rest of this post here
"T-Mobile’s new coverage map uses crowdsourcing for near ‘real-time’ results" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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T-Mobile's mobile network -- and in particular its coverage in non-urban areas -- remains its biggest weakness. That said, T-Mobile's strategy right now seems to be to concentrate on improving its mobile data network in urban areas where it's shown huge improvements over the past couple of years. T-Mobile's aggressive "Un-carrier" moves have also forced rivals to play defense by making similar moves of their own and new analysis from BTIG Research suggests that this is taking a particularly big toll on AT&T.
Sprint really wants your business. Not only will it cut your bill in half, but now the nation’s fourth-largest carrier will pay the early termination fee and any remaining payments at its competitors for you to come over to its network.
The early termination fee is why many customers don’t make the switch from one carrier to another. In many cases, the fee is required to be paid to end the two-year contract carriers like to lock you into.... Read the rest of this post here
"Sprint will pay what it costs for you to switch carriers" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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There was no question that AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon gave up on their Softcard mobile payment service when they agreed to pre-install Google Wallet, but it's now apparent that they're beating an especially hasty retreat. Softcard is telling users that its service will stop working after March 31st -- when April rolls around, both the app and your account go bye-bye. It's doubtful that you'll shed a tear for an offering that was mostly meant to stifle competition, but you will have to choose another tap-to-pay service fairly quickly if you happen to be one of the remaining customers. Thankfully, there won't be a shortage of alternatives any time soon.
Smartwatch fans have precious few choices when it comes to devices that don't look like a terrible cross between a Swatch watch and a Casio wrist calculator. Beginning soon, however, that is going to change. Apple is expected to announce Apple Watch launch details during its event on March 9th, and the device will begin shipping in April, according to earlier comments made by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
While you may have been doing a victory lap around your cubicle in the last few hours, not everyone is so enthused about the FCC's decision today. The commission voted to officially classify broadband internet as a Title II public utility, and it's already prepared for lawsuits from service providers. While court proceedings will take time to hash out, a war of words wages on in the immediate aftermath, so we've compiled comments from both sides on the matter.