AT&T

Apple And AT&T Sued For Infringement Over iPhone Haptic Patents (computerworld.com) 36

Haptic technology company Immersion has accused Apple and carrier AT&T of infringement of three of its patents in the latest iPhone models and Apple watches. Immersion, which claims over 2,100 issued or pending patents worldwide covering various aspects and commercial applications of haptic or touch feedback technology, has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban the import of the specified iPhone and Apple Watch models in the U.S., besides suing for damages in a Delaware federal court, company CEO Victor Viegas said in a conference call Thursday. Immersion decided to include AT&T and subsidiary AT&T Mobility in the action because the carrier is the most significant distributor of the iPhone in the U.S.
Security

High-Tech Attack Alert For 2016 Super Bowl (thestack.com) 60

An anonymous reader writes with news about a Homeland Security memo concerning potential technological attacks during the Super Bowl. The forthcoming Super Bowl event on 7th February could be at risk of a high-tech attack against fans both inside and outside the San Francisco 49ers Stadium. A security memo issued by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security has warned that the annual game could be a target not just at the stadium, but at other commemorative events taking place in San Francisco and in the Silicon Valley. One of the chief concerns is the various sabotages committed against fibre cables in the area. As the fibre optic cable networks function as back up communication systems in emergency situations, these are a possible target for the attackers. By destroying these cables, response times could be slowed down.
Ubuntu

AT&T Chooses Ubuntu Linux Instead of Microsoft Windows (betanews.com) 167

An anonymous reader writes: one of the largest cellular providers is the venerable AT&T. While it sells many Linux-powered Android devices, it is now embracing the open source kernel in a new way. You see, the company has partnered with Canonical to utilize Ubuntu for cloud, network, and enterprise applications. That's right, AT&T did not choose Microsoft's Windows when exploring options. Canonical will provide continued engineering support too.
AT&T

AT&T Brings Back Unlimited Mobile Data To Lure TV Subscribers (bloomberg.com) 68

An anonymous reader writes: Five years after AT&T discontinued its unlimited mobile data plan, the company is bringing it back with a catch: users must be subscribed to DirecTV or U-verse TV as well. The service will start at $100/month for a single subscriber. Two additional users can be added for $40/month each, and the fourth is free. There's also one more caveat: "Customers that exceed 22 gigabytes of data use in one month will have their speed throttled during peak network traffic periods." AT&T looks to do battle with T-Mobile, who has a similar four-person plan. This is one of the first major consequences of AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV last year for $48.5 billion. The company says it will soon roll out other plans to combine the services.
AT&T

Carrier iQ Goes Under, AT&T Buys Assets and Staff (techcrunch.com) 26

An anonymous reader writes: You may recall a company called CarrierIQ from when it angered tech-savvy internet users four years ago. They developed software that allowed explicit monitoring of anything happening on a cell phone, down to individual keystrokes. It was pre-installed on millions of phones at the time, and Carrier iQ unsuccessfully tried to silence the researchers working to uncover it. As the article notes, the company and its software "became synonymous with creepy, unseen monitoring of everything that you do on a smartphone on behalf of carriers and phone makers." Well, it seems they never really recovered. Carrier iQ seems to have evaporated. The bad news is that they sold most of their assets to AT&T, and handed off some employees as well. AT&T says they've continued to use Carrier iQ's software over the past few years to "improve the customer's network and wireless service experience."
AT&T

AT&T Building Massive Fiber Network That Barely Exists (techdirt.com) 91

An anonymous reader writes: An article at TechDirt points out that AT&T's big fiber deployment project isn't yet adding up to much. They posted a press release last week saying how they've launched fiber internet in Los Angeles and West Palm Beach, and how they also plan to bring it to 38 other metro areas. But TechDirt notes a few parts they left out: "Nowhere does the company state when these connections will be delivered. Similarly nowhere does the company make clear that it's targeting mostly high-end housing developments where fiber is already in the ground, making costs negligible (the only way you could technically accomplish a deployment of this kind and magically have your CAPEX consistently drop). And while AT&T claims these improvements will reach 14 million residential and commercial locations, AT&T gives no timeline for this accomplishment. That means it could cherry pick a few hundred thousand University condos and housing developments per year and be wrapping up this not-so-epic fiber deployment by 2040 or so. "
The Almighty Buck

AT&T Will Raise Cost of Old Unlimited Data Plans By $5 In February (theverge.com) 56

An anonymous reader writes: AT&T customers trying to hold on to their old unlimited-data plans will have to pay a little more starting in February. AT&T's legacy plans for unlimited data will soon be $35 a month, instead of the current $30, on top of normal monthly bill costs. The Verge reports: "This is the first price hike AT&T has levied on grandfathered unlimited customers in seven years; the plan in question was discontinued in 2010 and as such is no longer offered to new customers. The $35 unlimited data feature is in addition to the costs associated with your voice and texting plan(s)."
The Internet

No Such Thing As 'Unlimited' Data (wired.com) 622

An anonymous reader writes: According to an article at Wired, the era of 'unlimited' data services is coming to an end. Carriers don't give them out anymore unless they're hobbled, and they're even increasing the prices of grandfathered plans. Comcast's data caps are spreading, and Time Warner has been testing them for years as well. It's not even just about internet access — Microsoft recently decided to eliminate its unlimited cloud storage plan. The big question now is: were these companies cynical, or just naive? We have no way of evaluating their claims that a small number of users who abused the system caused it to be unprofitable for them. (A recent leaked memo from Comcast suggests it's about extracting more money, rather than network congestion.) But it's certainly true that limited plans make costs and revenue much easier to predict. Another question: were we, as consumers, naive in expecting these plans to last? As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Unlimited data plans clearly won't work too well if everybody uses huge amounts. So did we let ourselves get suckered by clever marketing?
AT&T

AT&T Says Malware Secretly Unlocked Hundreds of Thousands of Phones 123

alphadogg writes: AT&T said three of its employees secretly installed software on its network so a cellphone unlocking service could surreptitiously funnel hundreds of thousands of requests to its servers to remove software locks on phones. The locks prevent phones from being used on competing networks and have been an important tool used by cellular carriers to prevent customers from jumping ship.
Crime

AT&T Offers $250k Reward To Find the California Fiber-Optic Ripper 145

An anonymous reader writes: AT&T have offered a $250,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of what appears to be a serial disruptor of fiber-optic connections in California. The latest incident has taken place in Livermore in the San Francisco Bay Area, where an individual thought by the FBI to possess expert knowledge and specialist tools severed a critical AT&T cable, gaining access to the enclosure via a manhole. The attack precedes 11 previous ones in California in the preceding twelve months.
AT&T

AT&T Hotspots Now Injecting Ads 187

An anonymous reader writes: Computer scientist Jonathan Mayer did some investigating after seeing some unexpected ads while he browsed the web at an airport (Stanford hawking jewelry? The FCC selling shoes?). He found that AT&T's public Wi-Fi hotspot was messing with HTTP traffic, injecting advertisements using a service called RaGaPa. As an HTML pages loads over HTTP, the hotspot adds an advertising stylesheet, injects a simple advertisement image (as a backup), and then injects two scripts that control the loading and display of advertising content. Mayer writes, "AT&T has an (understandable) incentive to seek consumer-side income from its free Wi-Fi service, but this model of advertising injection is particularly unsavory. Among other drawbacks: It exposes much of the user's browsing activity to an undisclosed and untrusted business. It clutters the user's web browsing experience. It tarnishes carefully crafted online brands and content, especially because the ads are not clearly marked as part of the hotspot service.3 And it introduces security and breakage risks, since website developers generally don't plan for extra scripts and layout elements."
Security

How an Obscure Acronym Helped Link AT&T To NSA Spying 54

netbuzz writes: Slashdot on Saturday highlighted a story by Pro Publica and the New York Times that used Snowden documents to reveal previously unknown details of the "highly collaborative" relationship between AT&T and the NSA that enabled the latter's controversial Internet surveillance program. An aspect of the story that received only passing mention was how the reporters connected an acronym for an obscure proprietary network configuration – SNRC — to AT&T and the NSA in part through a 1996 story in the now-defunct print version of Network World. In essence, that acronym proved to be a fingerprint confirming the connection — and its match was found thanks to Google Books.
Network

The Network Is Hostile 124

An anonymous reader writes: Following this weekend's news that AT&T was as friendly with the NSA as we've suspected all along, cryptographer Matthew Green takes a step back to look at the broad lessons we've learned from the NSA leaks. He puts it simply: the network is hostile — and we really understand that now. "My take from the NSA revelations is that even though this point was 'obvious' and well-known, we've always felt it more intellectually than in our hearts. Even knowing the worst was possible, we still chose to believe that direct peering connections and leased lines from reputable providers like AT&T would make us safe. If nothing else, the NSA leaks have convincingly refuted this assumption." Green also points out that the limitations on law enforcement's data collection are technical in nature — their appetite for surveillance would be even larger if they had the means to manage it. "...it's significant that someday a large portion of the world's traffic will flow through networks controlled by governments that are, at least to some extent, hostile to the core values of Western democracies."
AT&T

AT&T Helped the NSA Spy On Internet Traffic 82

An anonymous reader writes: Newly disclosed NSA documents show that the agency gained access to billions of emails through a "highly collaborative" relationship with AT&T. The company provided access from 2003 to 2013, including technical assistance to carry out court orders permitting wiretapping. "The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon. And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency. One document reminds NSA officials to be polite when visiting AT&T facilities, noting, 'This is a partnership, not a contractual relationship.'" The new files don't indicate whether the partnership currently exists, but the government has been doing its best to keep corporate partnerships hidden. The article also notes that "In 2011, AT&T began handing over 1.1 billion domestic cellphone calling records a day to the N.S.A. after 'a push to get this flow operational prior to the 10th anniversary of 9/11,' according to an internal agency newsletter."
The Internet

Study: Major ISPs Slowing Traffic Across the US 181

An anonymous reader writes: A study based on test results from 300,000 internet users "found significant degradations on the networks of the five largest internet service providers" in the United States. This group includes Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and AT&T. "The study, supported by the technologists at Open Technology Institute's M-Lab, examines the comparative speeds of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), which shoulder some of the data load for popular websites. ... In Atlanta, for example, Comcast provided hourly median download speeds over a CDN called GTT of 21.4 megabits per second at 7pm throughout the month of May. AT&T provided speeds over the same network of of a megabit per second." These findings arrive shortly after the FCC's new net neutrality rules took effect across the U.S.
Wireless Networking

Sprint Begins Punishing Customers For FCC's Net Neutrality Rules 272

ourlovecanlastforeve writes: A few days ago Sprint announced their intent to stop throttling certain customers' bandwidth in the wake of the FCC fining ATT $100,000,000 for doing the same. Sprint has now begun circulating an internal memo to their front-line reps that the 12-month warranty on non-branded accessories, a featured selling point, will be eliminated. Additional rumors are emerging that Sprint may increase prices on unlimited data plans and stop offering wireline long distance service.
Businesses

FCC To Fine AT&T $100M For Throttling Unlimited Data Customers 205

New submitter Wargames writes: According to the article in the New York Times, AT&T is getting fined $100,000,000 for its doublespeak redefinition of the word "Unlimited". The FCC says AT&T failed to adequately notify its customers that they could receive speeds slower than the normal network speeds AT&T advertised and that these actions violated the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Order. “Unlimited means unlimited,” Travis LeBlanc, the F.C.C.’s chief of the enforcement bureau, said in a statement on Wednesday. “As today’s action demonstrates, the commission is committed to holding accountable those broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits.”
Verizon

Verizon, Sprint Agree To Pay Combined $158 Million Over Cramming Charges 66

mpicpp sends news that Verizon has agreed to pay $90 million (PDF), and Sprint another $68 million (PDF), to settle claims that they placed unauthorized charges on their customers's bills. The process, known as "cramming," has already cost T-Mobile and AT&T settlements in the tens of millions as well. Most of the settlement money will go towards setting up refund programs, but Verizon and Sprint will be able to keep 30% and 35% of the fees they collected, respectively. In response to the news, both companies issued vague statements about "putting customers first." They are now banned from charging for premium text message services and must set up systems to ensure informed consent for third-party charges.
The Internet

FCC Tosses Petition Challenging Its New Internet Regulations 133

A petition submitted to the FCC by several of the players (including AT&T, CenturyLink, and USTelecom) who would be most affected by the agency's recently asserted Internet regulatory powers has been rejected by the agency's leadership. The Internet providers, along with the CTIA trade association, asserted that the FCC's Open Internet order is aganst the public interest. Per The Verge, the Commission last Friday "denied the petition, issuing an order that states its classification of broadband internet as a telecommunications service "falls well within the Commission's statutory authority, is consistent with Supreme Court precedent, and fully complies with the Administrative Procedure Act."
AT&T

AT&T Bills Elderly Customer $24,298.93 For Landline Dial-Up Service 234

McGruber writes: 83-year-old Woodland Hills, California resident Ron Dorff usually pays $51 a month to AT&T for a landline, which he uses to access the Internet via an old-school, low-speed AOL dial-up subscription.... but then, in March, AT&T sent him a bill for $8,596.57. He called AT&T and their service rep couldn't make heads or tails of the bill, so she said she'd send a technician to his house. None came, so Dorff figured that everything was ok.

Dorff's next monthly bill was for $15,687.64, bringing his total outstanding debt to AT&T, including late fees, to $24,298.93. If he didn't pay by May 8, AT&T warned, his bill would rise to at least $24,786.16. Droff then called David Lazarus, business columnist for the LA Times, who got in touch with AT&T, who wasted little time in deciding it would waive the more than $24,000 in charges.

AT&T spokeshole Georgia Taylor claims Dorff's modem somehow had started dialing a long-distance number when it accessed AOL, and the per-minute charges went into orbit as he stayed connected for hours.

AT&T declined to answer the LA Times questions about why AT&T didn't spot the problem itself and proactively take steps to fix things? AT&T also declined to elaborate on whether AT&T's billing system is capable of spotting unusual charges and, if so, why it doesn't routinely do so.

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