IDG News Service - An AT&T Inc. executive asked employees to post opposition to net neutrality rules being considered by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on an FCC Web site using their personal e-mail addresses, prompting accusations of unfair advocacy by an opposing group.
The AT&T letter, sent this week by Jim Cicconi, senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, asks employees to go to OpenInternet.gov and use a personal e-mail address to join the discussion forum there.
The letter then gives five talking points that AT&T employees can use to argue against net neutrality in the days leading up to Thursday's FCC meeting, in which the agency is expected to take the first steps toward developing formal net neutrality rules.
The letter is a "kind of astroturfing," the act of creating fake grassroots opposition to an issue, said Tim Karr, campaign director for Free Press, a media reform advocacy group and net neutrality supporter.
"Coming from one of the company’s most senior executives, it’s hard to imagine AT&T employees thinking the memo was merely a suggestion," Karr said in a blog post.
The letter is asking AT&T workers to be "sort of deceptive," Karr added in an interview. "He's asking them to regurgitate talking points that are at best debatable."
In particular, Karr pointed to a sentence in the memo saying that net neutrality rules would "halt private investment in broadband infrastructure." AT&T, as part of its conditions for merger with BellSouth in late 2006, had to live with net neutrality rules for two years, and it continued to invest in broadband infrastructure, Karr said.
An AT&T spokesman dismissed Free Press' complaints, saying the organization and other net neutrality supporters carry on similar campaigns. Free Press often asks its members to write letters of support or opposition on political issues, and in 2006, eBay e-mailed its members asking them to contact their congressional representatives and voice support for net neutrality rules, noted Michael Balmoris, an AT&T spokesman.
There's "no difference" between those efforts and the AT&T letter, Balmoris added. "This was not a mandatory business request," he said. "We were providing important information to our employees, and it was up to them to respond personally. If they use their company e-mail that is fine, too."
Karr disagreed, saying Free Press' campaigns come from voluntary members of the group. "One, we don't ask them to hide who they are, and two, they're not on our payroll," he said.
Despite the AT&T letter, many of the comments on OpenInternet.gov seem to support net neutrality rules.
In other net neutrality news, five pioneers involved in creating the Internet have joined the chorus expressing opinions on the issue to the FCC.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
NSA: Riding on Facebook's horse tail.
The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is once again close to denying reports that it is indiscriminately monitoring every computer on planet Earth. This time, the freshest, newest, most recent report of NSA mass-surreptitiousness (courtesy Edward Snowden -- ta) alleges the sneaky agency infects computers with malware via a fake Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) login page.
In IT Blogwatch, bloggers play keep-away with the man-in-the-middle.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Gartner 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery Software
- See why CommVault was positioned as the #1 leader in Gartner's 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery software for the 3rd year in...
- Forrester Report: CommVault is a Leader in Enterprise Backup and Recovery
- In this report, Forrester takes a deep dive into the evaluation criteria, how CommVault is positioned and the features and functionality that make...
- Forrester Wave for Enterprise Backup and Recovery
- Read this report to see how CommVault continues to outpace its competitors and why Forrester positioned CommVault Simpana as the top backup and...
- Architecting the Network of the Future
- Networks need to change, as does the way IT thinks about and manages them. In addition to reliability, IT must now add higher... All Government IT White Papers
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them.
On-Demand Webcast: 7 Reasons to Choose VoIP
Thinking about a new phone system for your business?
Be sure to watch this informative webcast. Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA...
- Top 8 Communications Tools for Small Businesses Powerful technology is available to help your small business improve its communications with customers, employees and suppliers. View this free On-Demand Webcast produced...
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- All Government IT Webcasts