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New Member

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6 Messages

Thursday, November 25th, 2021 10:53 PM

Closed

AT&T is charging extra to spy on our home network, and blocks us from using any alternative!

Dear AT&T,


I am outraged by your assault on personal privacy and the free and open Internet. Maybe you think you're helping people with att.com/SmartHomeManager but it is an unwelcome invasion that goes against the core principles of privacy and freedom. It's a big step for totalitarian control of the Internet and every thing on it, as AT&T gains unfettered access to every packet coming from every device on the network.


The Internet was made for everyone, not for you to control. As a service provider, we want you to help us participate in the Internet that was designed to be free and open for all. You should do this by letting OUR home networks talk to OTHER networks. That's what Inter-net means, since you've apparently forgotten: WE have our network, and you simply connect us with other networks as we request them, BY ADDRESS. Your role as an ISP is for Wide Area Network interconnect, *not* Local Area Network (LAN) control.


We do NOT want you stepping into and onto our network, establishing your "Gateway" Router as King of the LAN, set up to spy on our home, gathering data on every request from every device. In particular, the policy of *requiring* us to use your router is unacceptable! To preserve our own privacy, we want to use our own router, and ONLY our own router.


If we could control our own network and simply connect to AT&T's *modem* -- then this would solve the secondary problem of being forced to use your DNS servers. Your router is the only one I've ever seen that makes it impossible to change the DNS servers, they are *locked* to AT&T DNS server addresses. Of course we know this means you can log every name address translation, a huge violation of privacy. The fact that we have no choice to use a different provider is a massive violation of our basic rights and erodes the founding principles of the Internet!


Your practice is anti-competitive and discourages other companies from providing a variety of routers with options capable of serving the needs of consumers on their home networks. We want a fair and healthy ecosystem of *choice* for home network components. We want control of our own networks and our own personal information.


Adding insult to injury, I see an extra $10 equipment charge on my bill every month for this router that we are forced to use! I am starting here on your forums to give you a chance to correct these totally unacceptable policies! For now I am tolerating the extra complexity of putting my own router behind yours, but this is NOT a solution. If you don't step back to the modem and restore consumer control of home networks by allowing us to choose our own equipment, I will be switching off AT&T and speaking out to many others to encourage them to do the same.


As a starting gesture, you can stop charging us the extra $10 per month for your spyware router!

ACE - Expert

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27.7K Messages

2 years ago

AT&T has required the use of their gateway since day one....over 15 years* ago so I really don't think your empty threats are going to change anything or influence anyone.

*AT&T launched Uverse Internet on June 26, 2006 and it was later changed to AT&T Internet/AT&T Fiber.

Former Employee

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32.9K Messages

2 years ago

Lol 

ACE - Expert

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32K Messages

2 years ago

@anything_here 

Time to switch out then. AT&T doesn't have to bow down to your demand that they change their policies and business model. Paying for their required proprietary Gateway has been their rule than the start.

You are not giving them a chance. This is just a rant they will simply ignore as it does not matter for them. Plus, this is a public forum of customers. Calling official support would not accomplish anything different, other than that is the route you would take to cancel your service.

Not up to you how they run their business. You don't like it then go somewhere else.

ACE - Expert

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24.2K Messages

2 years ago

@anything_here Do you use Google products (Ring doorbell, Alexa) any voice control? Talk about spyware. How about your cell phone?

As suggested, switch providers and see it's better elsewhere. I use Comcast with my own modem, router, and I don't pay any rental fees. Is Comcast perfect, far from it, but all ISP's pretty much do the same thing. Did you even bother to research AT&T as a provider? Probably not.

New Member

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6 Messages

2 years ago

Yes, it was a bit of a rant. I occasionally imagine that I can have some positive impact by raising awareness of encroaching totalitarian surveillance and control. Then some folks remind me that our society opts IN, paying absurd prices for gadgets that spy on them 24/7. We vote with our dollars and we'll get the treatment we asked for.

Mainly, I just miss the classic Internet, the system designed to serve, not take. It used to be ours, WE the people built it and could control our information flow with a bit of learning.

I know AT&T's conquest of the home network is just one factor in a global shift toward centralized authority over all our digital lives. Somebody's got to say something, at least. Better if we wrest control into the hands of ethical companies that truly empower users instead of making empty promises like "We value your privacy" (And that's why we want to own ALL your data, but don't worry, we'll keep the logs safe in our server farms).

My threat's not empty. I will indeed stop fueling this machine with my dollars and choose a competitor that leaves LAN control in the paying customer's hands. Sure, plenty of folks like the mockers here will continue to pay and proudly wear overpriced Apple products that report how often they touch themselves. Big tech will make plenty from their naive tolerance, and their data. But for myself, I'm opting out. I've already found a way to send my DNS requests to an ethical service of MY choosing instead of the one AT&T forces on its customers. It's just a first step, but already their databases will be a little lighter for it.

(edited)

ACE - Expert

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32K Messages

2 years ago

No mocking here, just providing a realistic perspective. I don't think they meant "empty threat" that you wouldn't go elsewhere, just that it wasn't filled with value that mattered for AT&T.

To be clear, I don't like being forced to use a proprietary Gateway and pay for it. I prefer to buy my own, which in experience lasts well beyond the warranty resulting in saved money. From other similar discussions, I believe most of the other posters in this this thread share that sentiment.

AT&T internet is not an Apple product. I don't use Apple products, and from what I see nobody else in the thread even mentioned them. Bad assumptions and accusations, along with innuendo, doesn't make your position stronger.

It is fine you don't like how they do business. As you said, vote with your dollars and go with a company that fits you better. Would be more productive then say "I'm giving them a chance" like you are someone in authority (parent, teacher, etc.) speaking to one you have some perceived control over (child, student, etc.).

ACE - Expert

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24.2K Messages

2 years ago

Who is "you people"? Everyone on this forum are customers like yourself.

New Member

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6 Messages

2 years ago

Wow... I just got censored. My post was 100% benign. Helpful, even. No rules were broken. No offensive language. I have no idea on what grounds the post was deleted, but I know it was posted thanks to OttoPylot's response.

To answer your question, yes I was referring broadly to the people I'm responding to, the whole group of customers, and even the AT&T employees that may come across this thread. I guess maybe it's considered an impolite phrase? I meant it literally as usual, it seemed better than "y'all".

Quickly coming to the conclusion that this forum isn't an effective use of my time, but I'll leave the helpful bit here, just in case my link to Wikipedia was the grounds for deletion. I suggest watching "The Lives of Others" -- it's in German (Das Leben der Anderen) and IMHO it's one of the best movies ever made. The fact that I just got censored for no good reason makes it even more relevant. :)

ACE - Expert

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24.2K Messages

2 years ago

@anything_here I have no idea of why your post was censored. It certainly wasn't due to me. AT&T does have bots who will do the key word/phrase thing and automatically censor so maybe that was it.

ACE - Expert

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32K Messages

2 years ago

Maybe they didn't approve of the link that was in it. But usually, they would just scrub such info instead of removing the entire post.

Forum can be useful as sometimes we can find solutions or provide guidance. But the required Gateway situation has been their business model for years and should have been obvious upon starting service, so it is not some big revelation that is new to the world.

Many of us don't like paying for the Gateway and having no alternative. For those that have the option, you go with another provider that suits you better. Otherwise, it is up to you to decide if having internet or not paying for the Gateway is more worth it for you.

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