AT&T Says NO to the FCC’s $100 Million Throttling Fine

If you read about it, AT&T just got fined last month for allegedly throttling customers with ‘unlimited’ data plan. To sum it up, the FCC saw that AT&T had been “severely” slowing down users while not telling those users about the caps placed on their speed. So, they decided to fine them with a staggering $100 million.

If you think the FCC is asking for a lot of money, they apparently aren’t. According to them, they first decided to fine AT&T with up to $16,000 per violation for millions of violations, but the figures were so ridiculously high that they went with the latter sum instead. Even so, AT&T now thinks that they did nothing wrong.

“The Commission’s findings that consumers and competition were harmed are devoid of factual support and wholly implausible,” AT&T wrote in a response to the FCC. “Its ‘moderate’ forfeiture penalty of $100 million is plucked out of thin air, and the injunctive sanctions it proposes are beyond the Commission’s authority.”

AT&T now states that the FCC is infringing their First Amendment right by demanding the company to tell customers of their FCC rule violation. But let’s face it, when you say ‘unlimited’, you don’t really mention about network slowdowns. Another interesting thing is that AT&T recently changed their policy for throttling LTE users after they pass 5GB of data. This means that unlimited data LTE users now get throttled during the time when the network is highly congested. Previously, unlimited data LTE customers used to get throttled for the rest of the month after passing 5GB of download. But despite AT&T’s attempts to convince the FCC it did nothing wrong, they are also facing a court order from the commission, which aims to bring millions of dollars of refunds to consumers.

In my opinion, throttling customer speeds, either on mobile data or the fiber optic speed you ‘get’ at home is not an option. I know a lot of internet providers face huge amounts of network congestion, but is that our or the network’s fault? I think mobile and ISP providers should focus on spending that money on upgrading their networks to handle more connections instead of keeping the speed throttling habit. What do you think?

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

NSA Phone Surveillance Is Legal And Vital?

The American Civil Liberties Union has had their case against the NSA dismissed, with a US district Judge ruling that collection of data from phones is lawful. For those that don’t know in June the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to challenge the NSA’s collection of phone records and data, stating that it violates the American’s First and Fourth Amendment rights. These being the right to free speech (First Amendment), as well as the right which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures (Fourth Amendment).  The American Civil Liberties Union was pushing for an injunction to stop the NSA’s phone surveillance and have all saved data deleted.

Fridays ruling by US District Judge William Pauley stated the United States of America and it’s government still had a need for the surveillance program run by the NSA, claiming that the surveillance program is used to detect and prevent terrorist activities. Judge Pauley also went onto to state that NSA did not go to unreasonable lengths in the pursuit of stopping and preventing terrorist activities. The US District Judge also went on to state that due to the NSA’s inability to “connect the telephone dots” ahead of the 9/11 attacks, the Al-Qaeda succeeded, because conventional intelligence gathering techniques could not diffuse filaments connecting Al-Qaeda.

In his closing statement US District Judge William Pauley stated;

“No doubt, the bulk telephony metadata collection program vacuums up information about virtually every telephone call to, form or within the United States. That is by design, as it allows the NSA to detect relationships so attenuated and ephemeral they would otherwise escape notice. As the September 11th attacks demonstrate, the cost of missing such a thread can be horrific”.

Despite the ruling made the American Civil Liberties Union has not given up on its fight to get an injunction on the NSA’s phone surveillance program. With the Deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union releasing this statement;

“We are extremely disappointed with this decision, which misinterprets the relevant statues, understates the privacy implications of the government’s surveillance and misapplied a narrow and outdated precedent to read away core constitutional protections. As another federal judge and the president’s own review group concluded last week, the NSA’s bulk collection of telephony data constitutes a serious invasion of American’s privacy. We intend to appeal and look forward to making our case in the Second Circuit.”

The NSA’s collection of phone data has been a huge topic this year since Edward Snowden starting leaking classified documents and brought this all to light. It was easily been one of the biggest stories of this year and looks set to carry on into 2014. We will bring you more information as it becomes available.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Fast Company.