“Big Brother AT&T” a true story by Bob

Long time friend of Asylum Watch, Bob, at Gonna’ Sat It, experienced up close and personal the federal government’s capacity to intrude in your life. He published this true story yesterday, October 24, 2014.

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Big Brother AT&T

By Bob

Ya’ll aint going to believe this. It really happened this morning, and the folks at AT&T admit it. Here’s what happened.

I am a customer of AT&T Uverse TV, Internet, and home telephone. All my entertainment is delivered by AT&T, and they do a good job. AT&T is expensive, but after trying to deal with Charter Cable for year after year, I was glad to pay more for good TV, telephone, and Internet service. Plus, AT&T CUSTOMER SERVICE is always friendly, and they follow-up.

This morning, I had arisen about 8:45, turned on the bedroom TV, and was in the process of choosing the day’s wardrobe. Since this is a Friday, and there was no grandchild care on my calendar, I was preparing to do some WORK around the house and yard. I chose the five year old, faded and slightly dirty, Wrangler jeans. Swooping them up from the floor, I also spied a rag of a shirt that was perfect for the activities planned.

That’s when the TV started making those Emergency Alert sounds. You know, the tones that sound like you have tuned into a fax machine. Along with the noise there was a red-bordered text box at the top of the screen that said something like:

“This is an emergency alert. Your television will be force-tuned to another channel for you to receive an emergency message. This action is being taken as requested by the White House. ASTGA02 (message number)…”

AT&T Uverse force-tuned my television from the Fox News Channel to the local NBC network affiliate channel and their morning news program.

To make matters worse, I could not change channels or look at the channel guide. AT&T had complete control over my television set, and they were supposedly being ordered to do so by the White House.

This had to be a really big emergency for such action, and I kept waiting for the emergency message. The message never appeared.

I power reset the TV, and it returned to the Fox News Channel for about sixty seconds, at which time the Emergency Alert Message and channel force-tuning was repeated. I did this three times with the same results. The same thing happened with my TV in the den.

When I spoke to AT&T CUSTOMER SERVICE, I was told that AT&T NETWORK engineers had “quickly repaired a network problem” that morning. Upon further questioning, the customer service representative revealed that the problem was, indeed, the emergency alert message and it was a nationwide event for AT&T.

So, there we have it. A mistake that demonstrated the White House capability to not only determine what we watch, but quite probably what we are watching at any one instant.

This is not only unbelievable, it is unacceptable. There’s no way around this problem as the cable company, and telephone company, have the right and responsibility to determine the health of their network and attached devices at any time.

Scary, isn’t it?

 

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7 thoughts on ““Big Brother AT&T” a true story by Bob

  1. Wow. Well we know that the government has a backdoor into just about every software driven device, they can follow everything we do, and they have GPS tracking devices called cellphones.

    Somehow, I’m just not surprised. Sad, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing this latest 4th amendment intrusion.

  2. Looks like what has been in the works is woking out swell
    U.S. military plans method of taking over airwaves
    September 22, 2013
    For those of us who cringe at the monthly squeal of the test of the “Emergency Broadcast Alert” which is to alert us of any nastiness that is going down, apparently that is not enough. One has to ask why must the government commandeer all stations? But we have seen this plan before haven’t we? Not enough Obumer? Recall that we have been there, done that and it worked out fine.

    The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Communications Commission held the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. The test occurred at 2 p.m. ET and was carried on all broadcast television, radio stations and cable and satellite television systems in the U.S. and U.S. territories. Wednesday, November 9, 2011.
    ….Snip
    So it is illuminating that the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), the organization that oversees America’s elite special forces, is quietly searching for equipment that will effectively give it control over every FM and AM radio station in an area. The short, innocuous-sounding announcement on the Federal Business Opportunities site states that SOCOM seeks vendors to provide “a radio broadcast system capable of searching for and acquiring every AM and FM radio station in a specific area and then broadcasting a message(s) in the target area on all acquired AM and FM radio station frequencies.” SOCOM wants equipment that is both lightweight and sophisticated enough to detect and broadcast over multiple frequencies simultaneously. And SOCOM wants it fast. The equipment must be at least Technology Readiness Level 8, a Pentagon measure of technological maturity that means that it is fully developed, tested and ready for use.
    http://bunkerville.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/u-s-military-plans-method-of-taking-over-airwaves/

  3. Something called, Hanlon’s razor says, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” My first idea was to blame the event on stupidity. Indeed, since it was a false alarm, it probably was something stupid. On the other hand, the system is obviously in place for the White House to tell us something anytime they want. That’s no accident. We let them build the system.

  4. It’s a funny story, with Bobby Bones and all, but “scary”? The only thing scary about this story is that apparently a lot of people down there watch FOX News, a leading cause of rationalizing idiocy.

    JMJ

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