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posted by hubie on Wednesday May 15, @01:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the business-as-usual dept.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2024/05/big-three-carriers-pay-10m-to-settle-claims-of-false-unlimited-advertising/

T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T will pay a combined $10.2 million in a settlement with US states that alleged the carriers falsely advertised wireless plans as "unlimited" and phones as "free." The deal was announced yesterday by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

"A multistate investigation found that the companies made false claims in advertisements in New York and across the nation, including misrepresentations about 'unlimited' data plans that were in fact limited and had reduced quality and speed after a certain limit was reached by the user," the announcement said.

T-Mobile and Verizon agreed to pay $4.1 million each while AT&T agreed to pay a little over $2 million. The settlement includes AT&T subsidiary Cricket Wireless and Verizon subsidiary TracFone.
[...]
The carriers denied any illegal conduct despite agreeing to the settlement. In addition to payments to each state, the carriers agreed to changes in their advertising practices. It's unclear whether consumers will get any refunds out of the settlement, however.
[...]
The three carriers agreed that all advertisements to consumers must be "truthful, accurate and non-misleading." They also agreed to the following changes, the NY attorney general's office said:

  • "Unlimited" mobile data plans can only be marketed if there are no limits on the quantity of data allowed during a billing cycle.
  • Offers to pay for consumers to switch to a different wireless carrier must clearly disclose how much a consumer will be paid, how consumers will be paid, when consumers can expect payment, and any additional requirements consumers have to meet to get paid.
  • Offers of "free" wireless devices or services must clearly state everything a consumer must do to receive the "free" devices or services.
  • Offers to lease wireless devices must clearly state that the consumer will be entering into a lease agreement.
  • All "savings" claims must have a reasonable basis. If a wireless carrier claims that consumers will save using its services compared to another wireless carrier, the claim must be based on similar goods or services or differences must be clearly explained to the consumer.

The advertising restrictions are to be in place for five years.

Related Stories

The FTC is Suing AT&T for Throttling its Unlimited Data Customers 22 comments

Federal officials on Tuesday sued AT&T, the nation’s second-largest cellular carrier, for allegedly deceiving millions of customers by selling them supposedly “unlimited” data plans that the company later “throttled” by slowing Internet speeds when customers surfed the Web too much.

The Federal Trade Commission said the practice, used by AT&T since 2011, resulted in slower speeds for customers on at least 25 million occasions – in some cases cutting user Internet speeds by 90 percent, to the point where they resembled dial-up services of old. The 3.5 million affected customers experienced these slowdowns an average of 12 days each month, said the FTC, which received thousands of complaints about the practice.

See also Ars Technica's coverage: US sues AT&T, alleges severe throttling of unlimited data customers which notes that customers were throttled by as much as 90% once they reached 3GB or 5GB of data.

The FTC has made available both a press release and the AT&T lawsuit (pdf).

T-Mobile and Verizon Mobile Plans Change; Probably Not Better for Consumers 8 comments

Verizon Raises Upgrade Fee, Purges More Unlimited Data Users

Verizon has raised its phone upgrade fee to "cover increased cost" of providing a 4G LTE network, despite its latest earnings report showing decreases in wireless capital expenditures. Verizon later "clarified" that it was referring to "ongoing costs to maintain and enhance the network".

Additionally, Verizon Wireless customers with grandfathered-in unlimited data plans will be disconnected or forced to switch to a limited plan if they use more than 200 GB of data a month on average. The company stopped offering the unlimited data plans in 2011. During Verizon's previous purge, customers using more than 500 GB of data per month were targeted.

T-Mobile eliminates cheaper postpaid plans, sells "unlimited data" only

T-Mobile USA will stop selling its older and cheaper limited-data plans to postpaid customers, shifting entirely to its new "unlimited" data plans that impose bandwidth limits on video and tethering unless customers pay extra. To ease the transition, T-Mobile will offer bill credits of $10 a month to customers when they use less than 2GB per month.

T-Mobile began its shift to unlimited data plans in August with the introduction of T-Mobile One, which starts at $70 a month. While there are no data caps, customers have to pay a total of $95 a month to get high-definition video and mobile hotspot speeds of greater than 512kbps.

The carrier said in August that the unlimited plan would be "replacing all our rate plans," including its cheaper plans that cost $50 or $65 a month. Nonetheless, T-Mobile kept selling limited postpaid data plans to new customers for a few months, but yesterday CEO John Legere said that as of January 22, T-Mobile One will be the "only postpaid consumer plan we sell."

Updated: AT&T is raising the price of grandfathered unlimited plans again


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

Verizon Wireless Divides Unlimited Plan Into Three Worse Options 38 comments

Verizon is making some changes to its unlimited data plan:

Well, now we know why Verizon Wireless was "testing" reduced Netflix streaming speeds last month. Today the biggest US carrier announced that its existing unlimited data plan is being divided into three new options: Go Unlimited (starting at $75 for a single line), Beyond Unlimited ($85 for first line), and Business Unlimited. Unlike the relatively straightforward unlimited plan that Verizon surprised customers with in February, these new monthly plans are chock-full of fine print and caveats. And in a move sure to anger net neutrality advocates, the regular "Go Unlimited" plan throttles all smartphone video streaming to 480p / DVD-quality. The new plans go into effect beginning tomorrow, August 23rd, so this change is happening fast. Existing postpaid customers can keep their current plan, but some things will change even for them.

Also at Engadget, BGR, and Tom's Guide.

Previously: T-Mobile and Verizon Mobile Plans Change; Probably Not Better for Consumers


Original Submission

Court Rules FTC Data-Throttling Lawsuit Against AT&T Can Proceed 5 comments

AT&T has been involved in a long-running battle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In 2014, the agency sued AT&T for throttling its customers' unlimited mobile data plans while not properly informing them it would be doing so. A few months later, the company claimed that its common carrier status meant it wasn't under the jurisdiction of the FTC and it asked a court to dismiss the agency's suit. In 2015, a judge rejected the carrier's claim, but in 2016, a three-member Ninth Circuit appeals court tossed out that ruling and the FTC's lawsuit saying that AT&T's common carrier status did indeed exempt it from the FTC's regulatory jurisdiction. And that brings us to today. As the Wall Street Journal reports, a federal appeals court has ruled that the FTC can proceed with its lawsuit, rejecting the Ninth Circuit court's earlier decision.

The ruling of the full-panel Ninth Circuit appeals court backs the FTC's original argument, which says that because the services in question weren't part of the those that fall under AT&T's common carrier status, its lawsuit is valid.

[...] FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen said in a statement, "I welcome the Ninth Circuit's ruling as good news for consumers. It ensures that the FTC can and will continue to play its vital role in safeguarding consumer interests including privacy protection, as well as stopping anticompetitive market behavior."

[...] An AT&T spokesperson told Reuters, "Today's decision on jurisdiction does not address the merits of the case. We are reviewing the opinion and continue to believe we ultimately will prevail."

Source:
https://www.engadget.com/2018/02/26/court-rules-ftc-lawsuit-att-proceed/


Original Submission

AT&T Imposes Another $5 Price Hike on Grandfathered Unlimited Data Plans 11 comments

Submitted via IRC for Fnord666

AT&T is imposing another $5-per-month price increase on customers who have held onto a decade-old grandfathered unlimited data plan. The new price will be $45 a month.

The data plan's price was $30 monthly for seven years until AT&T raised it to $35 in February 2016. A second $5 bump brought the price to $40 a month in January 2017. The third $5 increase in three years will kick in next month.

"Customers who have a grandfathered $40 data plan will receive notifications of a $5 per month rate increase for the data plan," AT&T said in the price increase announcement. "The rate increase will take effect starting with the customer’s July, 2018 service."

The $45 monthly fee is for wireless data only. These customers pay additional fees for phone calling and texting, roughly doubling the overall price.

AT&T could force these customers to move to newer plans because their contracts ran out years ago. Instead, the carrier has been implementing yearly price hikes and encouraging users to change plans. AT&T urged the customers to "learn more about the benefits of our currently available unlimited rate plans," while noting that customers who switch to a different plan "will not be able to switch back to their current grandfathered unlimited data plan in the future."

[...] AT&T claimed that it is imposing the latest price increase simply to "make sure we continue to provide the best service for all of our customers," because the use of mobile data is hitting "record levels."

John Legere, T-Mobile's Brash "Un-Carrier" Chief, to Leave in May 2020 3 comments

John Legere Leaving T-Mobile After 7 Fun Years of Bashing AT&T:

T-Mobile CEO John Legere will leave the company's top job after his contract runs out on April 30, 2020, T-Mobile announced today. Mike Sievert, T-Mobile's president and chief operating officer, will replace Legere as CEO on May 1.

Legere, who became CEO in September 2012, revived a struggling company and led the "Un-carrier" strategy that pitched T-Mobile as a customer-friendly alternative to the AT&T/Verizon duopoly. T-Mobile's Un-carrier moves changed some of the punitive business practices that mobile carriers routinely inflicted on customers.

But Legere's T-Mobile also helped lead the way in making throttling of streaming video a standard industry practice. T-Mobile was punished by the federal government in 2016 for failing to adequately disclose speed and data restrictions on its "unlimited data" plans, and like other carriers, it sold its customers' real-time location data to third parties. Legere often offered better deals than competitors, but US wireless prices still rank among the most expensive in the world.

Legere used a brash and combative style to promote T-Mobile, often insulting larger rivals AT&T and Verizon by calling them "Dumb and Dumber." In 2017, he said that T-Mobile's scientific research found that Verizon was the "Dumber" part of that pair. Legere will leave as T-Mobile attempts to complete its pending acquisition of Sprint, a deal that would reduce wireless competition in the US and make T-Mobile roughly the same size as AT&T and Verizon.

Legere helped T-Mobile and Sprint win the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice's approval of the merger, but the companies must still defeat a lawsuit filed by a coalition of state attorneys general in order to complete the merger.

The Sprint/T-Mobile merger may reduce competition, but if Sprint instead declared bankruptcy, then wouldn't the larger AT&T and Verizon be likely to outbid T-Mobile for Sprint's spectrum licenses leaving T-Mobile even less able to compete?

Also at: c|net.


Original Submission

AT&T Loses Key Ruling in Class Action over Unlimited-Data Throttling 31 comments

AT&T loses key ruling in class action over unlimited-data throttling:

AT&T's mandatory-arbitration clause is unenforceable in a class-action case over AT&T's throttling of unlimited data, a panel of US appeals court judges ruled this week.

The nearly five-year-old case has gone through twists and turns, with AT&T's forced-arbitration clause initially being upheld in March 2016. If that decision had stood, the customers would have been forced to have any complaints heard individually in arbitration.

But an April 2017 decision by the California Supreme Court in a different case effectively changed the state's arbitration law, causing a US District Court judge to revive the class action in March 2018.

AT&T appealed that ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but a three-judge panel at that court rejected AT&T's appeal in a ruling issued Tuesday. Judges said they must follow the California Supreme Court decision—known as the McGill rule—"which held that an agreement, like AT&T's, that waives public injunctive relief in any forum is contrary to California public policy and unenforceable."

[...] The class-action suit alleged that AT&T "used deceptive and unfair trade practices by marketing its mobile service data plans as 'unlimited' when AT&T allegedly limited those plans in several ways, including 'throttling'—slowing down mobile data speeds after the consumer uses an undisclosed, predetermined amount of mobile data," appeals court judges noted in this week's decision.

AT&T changed its policy in 2015 so that customers are throttled only when the network is congested. Previously, the carrier throttled unlimited data plans after customers used either 3GB or 5GB each month, depending on which plan they had, severely limiting speeds for the rest of the monthly billing period regardless of whether or not the network was congested.


Original Submission

AT&T Exempts HBO Max From Data Caps but Still Limits Your Netflix Use 31 comments

AT&T exempts HBO Max from data caps but still limits your Netflix use;:

AT&T's new HBO Max streaming service is exempt from the carrier's mobile data caps, even though competing services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ count against the monthly data limits. This news was reported today in an article by The Verge, which said that AT&T "confirmed to The Verge that HBO Max will be excused from the company's traditional data caps and the soft data caps on unlimited plans."

The traditional data caps limit customers to a certain amount of data each month before they have to pay overage fees or face extreme slowdowns for the rest of the month. "Soft data caps on unlimited plans" apparently is a reference to the 22GB or 50GB thresholds, after which unlimited-data users may be prioritized below other users when connecting to a congested cell tower.

"According to an AT&T executive familiar with the matter, HBO Max is using AT&T's 'sponsored data' system, which technically allows any company to pay to excuse its services from data caps," The Verge wrote. "But since AT&T owns HBO Max, it's just paying itself: the data fee shows up on the HBO Max books as an expense and on the AT&T Mobility books as revenue. For AT&T as a whole, it zeroes out. Compare that to a competitor like Netflix, which could theoretically pay AT&T for sponsored data, but it would be a pure cost."


Original Submission

Google has been Paying Wireless Carriers Billions to Not Develop Competing App Stores 18 comments

Google Has Been Paying Wireless Carriers Billions To Not Develop Competing App Stores:

To be clear, wireless carrier app stores have always kind of sucked. Verizon's efforts to create its own app store were shut down in 2012, after underwhelming consumers for years. At the time, the narrative was that Verizon just didn't find it worth the trouble in the face of Google domination and innovation. And while that's still largely true (wireless carriers are utterly unfamiliar with competition and therefore historically suck at innovation and adaptation), it turns out there was another reason.

Namely, that Google was paying Verizon and other major wireless companies a big chunk of money to not compete with the Android marketplace. And they were paying smartphone manufacturers to ship devices without competing app stores installed. Both nuggets were buried in a freshly unredacted copy of Epic's antitrust complaint (pdf) against Google, first spotted by Jeremy Owens:

Man, I love when the redactions come off and there are fascinating numbers underneath.

This unredacted graf shows that telcos get up to 25% of Google's app sales to keep them from developing rival app stores on the smartphones they sell and service. pic.twitter.com/Vx6p1YBU6S

This agreement to start paying wireless carriers 20-25% of app sales was occurring right around the time that Google brass was visibly starting to wimp out on consumer-centric issues like net neutrality. That involved working closely with Verizon to push the FCC toward flimsy, loophole-filled, "compromise" 2010 net neutrality rules that excluded wireless entirely. Verizon proceeded to then successfully sue the FCC to have those repealed anyway, leading to better rules in 2015 that were also dismantled a few years, later, albeit thanks to lobbying, not the courtroom.


Original Submission

Verizon Wireless Adds Economic Adjustment Charge for Most Customers 19 comments

Bloomberg and other outlets are reporting Verizon Communications Inc. will raise prices on its wireless bills for the first time in two years as the largest US wireless carrier grapples with higher costs.

Millions of consumers will see a $1.35 increase in administrative charges for each voice line starting in their June phone bill. And business customers will see a new "economic adjustment charge" beginning June 16, with mobile phone data plans increasing by $2.20 a month and basic service plans going up by 98 cents, according to Verizon representatives.

New York City-based Verizon started notifying customers Monday and has been contacting some of its larger corporate clients in recent days to tell them of the coming increases.

The move rallied Verizon's shares, vaulting them ahead of the broader market to their highest close in three weeks. At 4 p.m. in New York, Verizon rose 1.8% to end the regular session at $49.04, while the S&P 500 declined 0.4%.


Original Submission

FCC Does the Bare Minimum: Asks Wireless Carriers to be Honest About Location Data 17 comments

FCC Does The Bare Minimum: Asks Wireless Carriers To Be Honest About Location Data:

It took fifteen years filled with constant scandal, but the FCC finally recently announced that it would be "cracking down on" wireless carrier abuse of consumer location data, thanks to pressure from our new post-Roe reality. This "crackdown" involves politely asking the nation's top wireless carriers to disclose what kind of location data they were collecting, and who they've been sharing and selling it to.

Wireless carriers have now shared their responses with the FCC, all of which have been posted to the agency's website:

[...] So basically the FCC is asking an industry with a history of lying about this stuff to be transparent about what they're collecting and selling, and if they're very clearly breaking fairly flimsy agency rules, they might face penalties. Someday. If those enforcements can survive an agency that's been intentionally vote gridlocked by the telecom industry.

[...] While there are some wireless carriers who claim to never collect or sell user location data, others (notably Verizon and AT&T) utilize familiar legalese to suggest the collection and sale of this data is tightly controlled, anonymous, and secure, despite the fact that, again, fifteen years of scandals have shown that's very much never been the case.

FCC Fines Major U.S. Wireless Carriers for Selling Customer Location Data 10 comments

FCC Fines Major U.S. Wireless Carriers for Selling Customer Location Data:

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today levied fines totaling nearly $200 million against the four major carriers — including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon — for illegally sharing access to customers' location information without consent.

The fines mark the culmination of a more than four-year investigation into the actions of the major carriers. In February 2020, the FCC put all four wireless providers on notice that their practices of sharing access to customer location data were likely violating the law.

The FCC said it found the carriers each sold access to its customers' location information to 'aggregators,' who then resold access to the information to third-party location-based service providers.

"In doing so, each carrier attempted to offload its obligations to obtain customer consent onto downstream recipients of location information, which in many instances meant that no valid customer consent was obtained," an FCC statement on the action reads. "This initial failure was compounded when, after becoming aware that their safeguards were ineffective, the carriers continued to sell access to location information without taking reasonable measures to protect it from unauthorized access."

The FCC's findings against AT&T, for example, show that AT&T sold customer location data directly or indirectly to at least 88 third-party entities. The FCC found Verizon sold access to customer location data (indirectly or directly) to 67 third-party entities. Location data for Sprint customers found its way to 86 third-party entities, and to 75 third-parties in the case of T-Mobile customers.

The commission said it took action after Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter to the FCC detailing how a company called Securus Technologies had been selling location data on customers of virtually any major mobile provider to law enforcement officials. (Emphasis added.)

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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by Snotnose on Wednesday May 15, @01:34PM (32 children)

    by Snotnose (1623) on Wednesday May 15, @01:34PM (#1357032)

    These companies each lost $10 million/year in accounting roundoff. I'm sure fining them $3.33 mil each will teach those responsible a lesson.

    --
    When the dust settled America realized it was saved by a porn star.
    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Ingar on Wednesday May 15, @01:48PM (3 children)

      by Ingar (801) on Wednesday May 15, @01:48PM (#1357034) Homepage Journal

      They also have to pinky swear not to do it again.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday May 15, @05:17PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 15, @05:17PM (#1357062) Journal

        They offer Unlimited Lies! Yes, really. That's truthful.

        --
        With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Whoever on Wednesday May 15, @06:29PM (1 child)

        by Whoever (4524) on Wednesday May 15, @06:29PM (#1357071) Journal

        They also have to pinky swear not to do it again.

        Exactly. Every time they get hit with these trivial fines, we hear that, if they do the same again, the fines will be huge, but this never comes to pass.

        It's more profitable to pay the fines than obey the law. We need to change that.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, @07:10PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, @07:10PM (#1357082)

          We need to change that.

          Collectively you can, in November, but only if you (collectively) want to. And if you don't, well, you have two more years to complain before your next chance to try again, rinse/repeat...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, @01:49PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, @01:49PM (#1357035)

      What's going to hurt are the bullet points toward the end of TFA, directly below this line:
      > They also agreed to the following changes, the NY attorney general's office said:
      > * "Unlimited" mobile data plans can only be marketed if there are no limits on the quantity of data allowed during a billing cycle.
        [etc.]

      Getting rid of deceptive advertising and other bogus claims will clean up things for the customers.

      Ms. James just moved up another notch in my book.

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 15, @01:59PM (2 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 15, @01:59PM (#1357037)

        >no limits on the quantity of data allowed during a billing cycle

        In other words, nobody nowhere can ever market an "Unlimited" plan again (and hope to stay in business...)

        What's the new marketing term for "Unlimited"? "All you can eat," "Power Users," "Executive Plan," "Road Warrior Plan," "Top Tier," "Platinum Club," "Firehose."

        GoogleFi's "Unlimited" plan amounts to a bill that's higher than what we pay 10 months of the year, the other 2 months we might exceed the "Unlimited" bill amount by $5 or $10, but we average more like $20 below.

        My wife got upset at our higher than normal bill last month, but when we broke it down it was $2 for this event, $3 for that event - mostly sharing videos on social media before we got home. When you're paying $100 and more for the event, do you really care about spending $2 to share a video from it at the moment instead of waiting to get home?

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Wednesday May 15, @07:31PM (1 child)

          by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 15, @07:31PM (#1357087)

          "Unlimited" can be used for a data pipe that will run full speed 24/7 with no artificial maximum.

          My home internet is 1Gb fiber, no throttling or data cap. Before I got fiber installed I had 40Mb DSL, also with no throttling or data cap. Obviously limited by the actual bandwidth, but otherwise unlimited.

          --
          The world is full of kings and queens who blind your eyes and steal your dreams.
          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 15, @07:39PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 15, @07:39PM (#1357091)

            Well, yeah, back in the 1990s there was a dialup provider who sold "unlimited" plans and made it work by throttling their users' connections to 300 baud, and less - this when they were offering connections on 33.6kBps capable modems.

            An acquaintenemy of mine signed up for the 12 months for the price of 10 plan with them, 2 months before they started the throttling.

            I think there's specific rules around throttling and minimum bandwidth these days, which are of course "best effort" weasel worded, but nontheless I don't think many ISPs get away with throttling like they did 25+ years ago.

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 4, Touché) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 15, @01:50PM (19 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 15, @01:50PM (#1357036)

      Yeah, can I go out and perpetrate billions of dollars worth of fraud and then give 1% to the states as an apology for being so bad?

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday May 15, @04:18PM (9 children)

        by bzipitidoo (4388) on Wednesday May 15, @04:18PM (#1357056) Journal

        As an apology? Nah, a key component of all this is not having to admit to any wrongdoing. Apologizing would be such an admission. They will insist those payments not be construed as in any way apologetic. They're merely a cost of doing business.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 15, @04:46PM (8 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 15, @04:46PM (#1357059)

          What do you call 5000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

          A good start.
          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Wednesday May 15, @05:13PM

            by Snotnose (1623) on Wednesday May 15, @05:13PM (#1357061)

            If you took all the lawyers in the country and laid them end to end around the equator, about 2/3 of them would drown. Some would say that's a good start.

            --
            When the dust settled America realized it was saved by a porn star.
          • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Wednesday May 15, @05:47PM (1 child)

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday May 15, @05:47PM (#1357066) Homepage Journal

            What do you call 5000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

            A very old joke.

            --
            mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by pTamok on Wednesday May 15, @06:44PM (4 children)

            by pTamok (3042) on Wednesday May 15, @06:44PM (#1357075)

            Don't blame the lawyers. They are merely good at exploiting bad law. They don't make the laws.

            Who makes the bad laws? The politicians.

            Who advises the politicians? The lobbyists.

            Blame the lobbyists. They are extremely good at mis/re-directing blame.

            • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, @07:21PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, @07:21PM (#1357085)

              Who makes the bad laws? The politicians.

              Who advises the politicians? The lobbyists.

              Blame the lobbyists. They are extremely good at mis/re-directing blame.

              Wrong question, you should ask:

              Who reelects the politicians? The voters.

              Blame the voters. They are much better at mis/re-directing blame.

              In the meantime 95% of these politicians everybody likes to whine about will be reelected once again.. So please, when pointing fingers, most people should point into the mirror

            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 15, @07:42PM (2 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 15, @07:42PM (#1357092)

              Agree with AC: the ultimate blame is square at the feet of the voters (and those who choose not to vote.)

              The unfortunate reality is: the voters are so easily manipulated, and our system is now so complex that referenda on all the significant issues would be chaos and possibly even more easily manipulated than the clowns we send to D.C.

               

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
              • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Wednesday May 15, @08:10PM (1 child)

                by pTamok (3042) on Wednesday May 15, @08:10PM (#1357098)

                Yah, but...who 'advises' the voters?

                In an ideal world, voters are rational and fully informed.

                In our world, they get their information from a limited set of (mostly) controlled and (quite possibly) biased channels. Lobbyists and 'media moguls' have an awful lot of soft power.

                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 15, @08:37PM

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 15, @08:37PM (#1357102)

                  >Lobbyists and 'media moguls' have an awful lot of soft power.

                  As they always have. Why else would a boy genius sink $44B into a media platform and proceed to make it unprofitable?

                  --
                  🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Wednesday May 15, @05:45PM (6 children)

        by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday May 15, @05:45PM (#1357064) Homepage Journal

        Once your fortune reaches a billion (that's as much money as a thousand millionaires have, of course), you are as close to immune to the law as is humanly possible... unless you piss someone off who is even richer than you.

        Take Trump, for instance. Highest fine for contempt of court is a thousand bucks, that's like fining me fifty cents or less. "Thousand bucks? Here, asshole judge, fuck you!"

        --
        mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
        • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Wednesday May 15, @06:32PM (5 children)

          by Whoever (4524) on Wednesday May 15, @06:32PM (#1357072) Journal

          Arguably, Trump isn't rich. He has maintained the appearance of being rich for a long time, but during much of that time, he has had a negative net worth.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday May 15, @07:35PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday May 15, @07:35PM (#1357090)

            There's a "too big to fail" clause when your debt passes a certain level. The banks have to support your sham, or they'll be out all that money they loaned you.

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday May 16, @03:36PM (3 children)

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday May 16, @03:36PM (#1357221) Homepage Journal

            How can anyone owning several homes and even more New York City skyscrapers have a negative net worth?

            --
            mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
            • (Score: 2) by Whoever on Thursday May 16, @03:48PM (2 children)

              by Whoever (4524) on Thursday May 16, @03:48PM (#1357227) Journal

              How can anyone owning several homes and even more New York City skyscrapers have a negative net worth?

              Have you heard of these things called "mortgages" and "loans"?

              • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday May 16, @03:53PM (1 child)

                by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday May 16, @03:53PM (#1357230) Homepage Journal

                Yes, I have one of each, not counting credit cards I keep paid off. One more might bankrupt me. I'm pretty sure no bank would want me to buy a second house!

                --
                mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
                • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, @04:57PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 16, @04:57PM (#1357247)

                  > I'm pretty sure no bank would want me to buy a second house!

                  That is the way it is for all us little people. But Trump just overvalued his existing buildings, used that for collateral and then borrowed more to buy more buildings. From memory, sleazy Deutsche Bank[1] was one of the banks, at least some of the time(?)

                  Then, he undervalued the taxable value of the buildings at tax time (but of course still owed the money he had already borrowed).

                  Thus his negative net worth at various points in time. At other points in time, he went bankrupt (more than once), stiffed creditors, and started the same cycle of fraud over again.

                  [some of the claims I've made above remain to be proven in court, the day of reckoning can't come soon enough for me...]

                  [1] See https://violationtracker.goodjobsfirst.org/parent/deutsche-bank [goodjobsfirst.org] for a list of judgements against this bank.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Whoever on Wednesday May 15, @06:34PM (1 child)

        by Whoever (4524) on Wednesday May 15, @06:34PM (#1357073) Journal

        Yeah, can I go out and perpetrate billions of dollars worth of fraud and then give 1% to the states as an apology for being so bad?

        What about the Sacklers? Responsible to the deaths of thousands of people, yet able to retain much of the wealth they gained while people were dying from their products and the misrepresentations they made about those products.

    • (Score: 2) by DadaDoofy on Wednesday May 15, @02:45PM (1 child)

      by DadaDoofy (23827) on Wednesday May 15, @02:45PM (#1357046)

      "When the dust settled America realized it was saved by a porn star."

      Good luck with that and I hope that works out for you. LOL

      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, @06:34PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 15, @06:34PM (#1357074)

        Good luck with that and I hope that works out for you. LOL

        if he wins the case, are ya gonna 'hope that works out for you' while debating how much he overspent on a prostitute?

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Wednesday May 15, @04:00PM (1 child)

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Wednesday May 15, @04:00PM (#1357053)

      Exactly. The message these "fines" send the entire industry - all the industries in fact - is that it makes good business sense to break the law.

  • (Score: 0, Troll) by DadaDoofy on Wednesday May 15, @02:40PM (7 children)

    by DadaDoofy (23827) on Wednesday May 15, @02:40PM (#1357044)

    "The advertising restrictions are to be in place for five years."

    Not the least bit surprising, coming from the thoroughly corrupt and despicable Letitia James. So after five years, this kind of advertising is no longer false? Or is it just a way to extract more millions when the clock runs out?

  • (Score: 2) by SDRefugee on Wednesday May 15, @04:52PM (1 child)

    by SDRefugee (4477) on Wednesday May 15, @04:52PM (#1357060)

    I discovered, after signing up with an MVNO called Tello, that their "unlimited" was, in reality, 35Gb of 4G/5G data, then basically dialup speeds. When they were called on it, their assertion was the fact that they don't cut you off after 35gb made their claim of "unlimited" NOT fraudulent. They might just as well cut you off, as the less than 2G speed you get is useless for ANY modern use. What are ya gonna do, they ALL do the same shit..

    --
    America should be proud of Edward Snowden, the hero, whether they know it or not..
    • (Score: 2) by KritonK on Thursday May 16, @08:06AM

      by KritonK (465) on Thursday May 16, @08:06AM (#1357173)

      Meanwhile, my mobile carrier in Greece advertises limited data plans of that same variety: when you go over whatever your plan's monthly limit is, they don't cut you off, as you'd expect, but lower the data rate to "up to 384 Kbps". 384 Kbps may be too little to watch videos, but it's enough to browse the web, albeit somewhat slowly, if the pages you visit contain a lot of javascript. Of course, there's that "up to" bit, which for many carriers means simply ">0".

  • (Score: 1) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday May 15, @07:57PM (2 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 15, @07:57PM (#1357096) Journal

    I hear that term all the time, when lefties are talking about the wars around the world. "The other side only killed xxxx of your people, you should only kill xxxx +1%" or some such nonsense.

    I want to see some proportionality in these fines. Instead of a flat monetary value for the fine, make it 1 or 10 or 20% of gross earnings for each year affected. Almost as good, would be a rebate to all customers affected. If I only received 70% of my advertised bandwidth for the last 9 years, the telco rebates me 30% of the total that I've paid over the last 9 years.

    There is little if any justice when government assigns penalties against corporations. I want what I paid for, if I can't have it, I want my money back. Prorate the service provided against my costs. I don't care one tiny bit if the telco, or the ISP, or anyone else survives as a business. There is no guarantee of making a profit in the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. Both were written for us citizens, not for corporations.

    • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Wednesday May 15, @08:49PM (1 child)

      by pTamok (3042) on Wednesday May 15, @08:49PM (#1357104)

      Corporations have legal personhood. Current interpretations of the 14th amendment to the US Constitution hold that it applies to 'legal persons', and thus constitutional protections are afforded to corporations.

      And much of the U.S. constitution applies to 'persons', not just U.S. Citizens [libertarianinstitute.org].

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday May 15, @09:50PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 15, @09:50PM (#1357116) Journal

        If corporations can't be punished like people, then corporations can't be "persons". Corporations have historically met obligations and commitments equal, or nearly equal, to those of real people - sometimes. In WW2, a lot of corporations did as government dictated, to keep the war machine operating. Of course, no corporation was shot and buried at Normandy, but, they did make sacrifices along with real people during the war.

        A real person can be subject to all manner of severe punishments, depending on his offense. We all face fines, just let a cop see you driving 20 to 50 mph over the speed limit. You'll pay a fine, minimum, and likely have your license suspended. Oh - well - when was the last time a business had it's license suspended? A doctor might have HIS license suspended, but the company that he owns won't be suspended. How about jail time? Where's the equivalent of that in the business world? And, capital punishment. Theoretically, I can be executed by the state, if I really piss the state off. Businesses? Nope.

        I outright reject the idea that a corporation is a person. If and when corporations are as punishable as real people, I might reconsider. If a corporation commits a truly heinous crime, the corporate officers can all be executed in front of the same firing squad. I'm thinking of the Sacklers, who pushed Oxycontin for so many years, no matter how many people suffered and died.

        Yes, I realize you are correct. In today's world, corporations are legal persons. Perhaps one day, government will pull it's collective head out of it's collective ass. I won't hold my breath, but, maybe.

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