Have Satellite Truck, Will Travel

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Location: Sitting inside a TV truck, Somewhere, more then likely in the Southeastern region, United States

I am a grouchy, bald headed old fart filled with opinions and not the least bit shy about sharing them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Verizon Wireless Followup

I got this from the Verizon Wireless public relations department:


BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – Verizon Wireless issued the following statement today regarding the use of Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI):

Verizon Wireless is taking another step to deliver the best service to its customers while providing the maximum protection for customer privacy. Verizon Wireless is currently sending its customers a notice that customer information will be shared within the Verizon family of companies to facilitate the offering of better service packages to consumers. Customers are given the option to forego the sharing of information among the Verizon companies.

“Specifically, the notice sent to customers is an advance notice that Verizon Wireless may share basic customer information with our parent companies. This notice, following rules set forth by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), gives customers who do not want that information shared with our telecommunications affiliates the option of telling us by ‘opting out.’ The FCC has rules which state specifically that opt-out is the way to share information and provide certain required language, which we followed.

Verizon Wireless has a long-standing policy of guarding personal customer information. We have put this process in place so that we can ensure our customers’ privacy needs and expectations are met – even within the Verizon family of companies. We will continue to vigorously defend the privacy rights of our customers.”

For more information, visit Verizon’s Technology and Telecommunications Policy Blog at http://policyblog.verizon.com.


They only intend to share my data with other Verizon companies. Funny, I don't remember reading any such language in that document outlining the program. And what is to keep those "partners" from selling it once they have it? It is still a bad idea because it opens the door the door for future releases of information.

In defense of Verizon Wireless, they did acknowledge my request for more information.


Privacy under what circumstance? Privacy at home under what circumstances? You have more privacy if everyone's illiterate, but you wouldn't really call that privacy. That's ignorance.
- Bruce Sterling

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Verizon Wireless wants to sell your call records

Romulis, MI - An article in today's Slashdot pissed me off beyond belief. According to the article Verizon Wireless is making to sell your call detail records to their partners. These details will include date, time, length of call and calling or called phone number. A notice (Sideways PDF) was included in recently mailed statements.

Fortunately for us, someone working at Skydeck actually read the notice and posted it on their blog.
Two of us just received a notice from Verizon Wireless about CPNI. CPNI stands for Customer Proprietary Network Information: our call records, essentially. What numbers we called, how often, how long we spent on the phone, and how much it cost us. (It does not include our own names, numbers, or addresses.)

Verizon wants to share this data with third parties, and of course they need our permission: “you have a right, and we have a duty, under federal and state law, to protect the confidentiality of your CPNI.”

But that duty only goes so far: “Unless you provide us [Verizon Wireless] with notice that you wish to opt out within 30 days of receiving this letter, we will assume that you give the Verizon Companies the right to share your CPNI with the authorized companies as described above.”

Skydeck: Get Ready For More Advertising On Your Cell Phone

The fact that Verizon Wireless customers must take action to keep these assholes from selling their personal information is an obscene abuse of customer good will in my book. If you are a Verizon Wireless customer and object to having your call detail records sold here's what you do:
Call 1-800-333-9956 and follow automated attendant instructions. You will need your billing zip code and account password (if you use one).

Verizon Wireless just went from the best to somewhere near the worse in my book.

The eternal skeptic in me wondered if this was an elaborate scam designed to to pry my account information and password from me. Sadly, after calling Verizon Wireless customer service, I found it is all too true.

Those bastards!


This has been a learning experience for me. I also thought that privacy was something we were granted in the Constitution. I have learned from this when in fact the word privacy does not appear in the Constitution.
- Bill Maher

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

RIAA wins first trial to a jury

Jammie Thomas failed to impress a federal jury with her explanation as to exactly when her hard drive failed and was replaced. The fact that the Kazaa user name was the same user name that appears on all her e-mail accounts, chat accounts and on-line shopping accounts and her MySpace weighed heavily against her as well. No wonder the RIAA picked this one as their first hearing in front of a jury.

The jury returned a judgment of $222,000 against Thomas.

From what I read my personal opinion is she probably did it. In that case a spanking was in order. However, I have a major problem with the $222,000 plus the RIAA attorney's fees 24 songs.

The case will probably be appealed over the judge's final instructions to the jury. There is some debate as to whether "making available" without proof anyone actually downloaded anything from the defendant constitutes copyright violation in this country.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Davis was planning to instruct jurors as they began their deliberations that record companies would have to prove someone copied the songs to show copyright infringement.

But record company attorney Richard Gabriel cited cases where making songs available was found to be infringement, and Davis changed course.

Legal experts said the question isn't settled.

"Record labels don't like that because it's harder to prove," said Andrew Bridges, an attorney who has argued for the Computer & Communications Industry Association that copyright holders should have to prove the offered material is actually used.

"It's all about whether they get a free pass to impose onerous damages on people without actually having to prove a case," Bridges said.

International intellectual property treaties assume that simply making a work of art available can violate the copyright, said Jane C. Ginsburg, an intellectual law professor at Columbia Law School.

"It would be hard to see how we could be living up to our international obligations if the law were interpreted differently," she said.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Woman to pay downloading award herself

In that second to the last paragraph, note the key word "can." That is not the same as "will violate the copyright."

One down, 20,000 cases to go.

More Info:
Freedom to Tinker: Jury Finds User Liable for Downloading, Awards $9250 Per Song in Damages
Wired Threat Level: RIAA Defendant Maintains Innocence Day After Losing Court Battle
ARS Technica: RIAA trial verdict is in: jury finds Thomas liable for infringement


The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.
- Frank Zappa