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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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27.9K Messages

2 years ago

Can we assume that the OP does NOT use a smart phone?

New Member

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6 Messages

2 years ago

It was a link to the Wikipedia article for a reputable movie (The Lives of Others). I didn't read it in full but skimming seemed fine. I don't know, the robot or human censor deleted my comment without notice of any kind. Maybe it's because I said something like "There's a difference between submission and true agreement."

Smart phones are increasingly not smart. I used to like Android. iPhone has nice hardware but no freedom. The trouble is that these systems aren't under user control. Surely we should expect a smart phone's capabilities to be used according to the will of those who control them: states and corporations. Is anyone surprised that games went from fun user-oriented activities to ad-driven micropayment addiction machines? Does anyone really believe they won't be spied on by cameras and microphones in the bedroom? No thanks! I'd rather play Tetris on a PinePhone. Linux puts the user in control. Basics first!

ACE - Expert

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24.6K Messages

2 years ago

This is starting to sound like a tin hat/conspiracy thread. I would agree that we don't have anywhere near the privacy that we think we have once we go online but that's the nature of technology, and was predicted many many years ago, and only then people thought it was science fiction. All one can do is take the necessary precautions which is getting a bit tedious but that's the nature of the game.

ACE - Expert

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27.9K Messages

2 years ago

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ACE - Expert

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32.3K Messages

2 years ago

An interconnected world from the internet (traditional and mobile) brought great communication but more info shared. It is up to each individual to manage that as best they can.

I agree that mobile apps have gone overboard, especially with ridiculous microtransactions, but that is what the people want and would be foolish of a business to not try and capitalize on it. There are some that find a balance.

As for Tetris, I can just pop it into my Gameboy (original). Don't need a phone for that one. Though I don't carry the whole case with me like when I was a kid.

My own preference for a laptop is no built-in microphone. Never mind security/privacy concerns, but I prefer using a headset anyway. As for camera whether it is built-in or external, it will have a physical shutter. That or an external that I either unplug or have my own cover for when not in use.

New Member

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6 Messages

2 years ago

Yeah, the "privacy shutters" for cameras really capture the essence. We resort to primitive methods because we can't trust the technology stack. Why not? Because it's not under user control. This is the point. Big tech claims you are in control of your data -- after they've taken it all, you have only the levers they choose to give you. That is literally not control, that's concession.


True physical control over devices and information flow is necessary to preserve basic human rights. We trade privacy for convenience because we mostly trust who we're sharing with. But that trust is beginning to erode, and mark my words (if they don't get deleted) that we'll be given more and greater reasons not to trust. Observe history. Observe human nature. Don't let big tech and big politics kill the competition. Keep Linux healthy and the tech stack open, or we may long for the days when switching off was an option.

More 1984 than tin hats, but don't get me started on radio waves and transcranial magnetic stimulation!  :D

Mentor

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98 Messages

2 years ago

Yes, AT&T does whatever it can to get that marketable information so they can sell it to 3rd parties (hopefully in aggregate, but who knows?)

You won’t get anything but ridicule from the ACEs around here, though.  They’re corporate fanboys (and girls) of AT&T.

(edited)

ACE - Expert

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32.3K Messages

2 years ago

It is impossible for digital to be 100% guaranteed under your control if connected to internet. There is always that risk, no matter how small it might be (with proper precautions taken). A physical shutter is not primitive, just like closing your curtains is not primitive. Digital doesn't replace the fact that the physical tangible world exists.

Yes, I see some disturbing parallels to 1984 (all the special labels and approved ways to say things is similar to Newspeak). But as for the information out there, it is not so much mined and shared but people volunteer such info up with a need to be in the spotlight.

@monfster 

Leave the false accusations at home. I am not a fanboy/girl of AT&T. Many things I disagree with (i.e., paying for required Gateway, their equipment direction with the Genie-2 after their acquisition of DirecTV, etc.). And I certainly do not provide any ridicule on this topic (unlike a few others have done). What I say is honest with a realistic perspective, though often is rather blunt (I prefer to avoid sugar coating my discussions)

Bottom line is if you have AT&T, you have no choice but to use their proprietary Gateway and pay for it. To avoid that you would need to go with another ISP or live with no internet at all. As mentioned, I am against their setup on this. But it is within their rights to have this business model.

(edited)

Mentor

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98 Messages

2 years ago

I only gather that you are defenders of AT&T based on the ridicule y’all showered on the OP.    He has a legitimate complaint, even though, I admit, he has a flair for the dramatic.

Not all ISPs do this, and the inability to pick your own DNS servers is a decision that AT&T has made in order to aggregate more data to sell to via its marketing information services (or whatever they call it) that it offers to advertisers, etc.   That’s where the money is for them.

Saying “if you don’t like it, go elsewhere” is a valid response if you’re talking about some things, but in the case of ISPs and the monopolistic nature of how ISPs are segregated from real competition in the real world (the ability to do business with a particular provider is wholly based on who serves your area) makes the go elsewhere response unhelpful.

It’s about money, and if you don’t think that AT&T lobbies to prevent changes to the status quo on internet services, think again.   They, and many other providers have successfully blocked municipalities from implementing public internet services to  their citizens countless times.

So, if you haven’t ridiculed the OP, good on you.   Many others have.  It’s wrong of me to lump every ACE together, so to you I apologize.  Several others have.

(edited)

ACE - Expert

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24.6K Messages

2 years ago

@monfster Fanboy? The only AT&T service I have is cellular, and I’m not happy with the current state of affairs with my account but there are issues with any carrier. As mentioned, if you don’t like how they operate their internet service, don’t subscribe. If you do subscribe and didn’t understand what you’re getting into shame on you. Go rant elsewhere unless you have something positive and helpful to add.

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