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The Internet

+ - Can TOS force binding arbitration?

Submitted by
macraig
macraig writes "I received an e-mail update from AT&T Internet Services today, notifying me of changes to the Terms of Service (TOS). The first change, and the one which concerns me, is this:

  • Arbitration Agreement. We have added language that requires customer disputes with AT&T regarding AT&T Internet Services to be submitted to binding arbitration or small claims court. Arbitration is less formal than a lawsuit in court and often faster. In addition, AT&T will pay for all costs of arbitration, no matter who wins, as long as your claim is not frivolous.

(By publicly quoting this e-mail, I'm sure I'll burn in Hell, or at least get dragged into court by AT&T for copyright infringement.)

Is this legally defensible language? Can they, after the fact of a contract, slip in language that actually limits the legal recourses which might otherwise be available to the other party, such as a traditional suit in full court or a class action lawsuit? Would any court actually uphold or defend such language? If so, might this be the defining moment when AT&T customers like myself should consider getting the heck outta Dodge and taking our Internet dollars somewhere else?"

Space

+ - Phoenix launches for Mars after delayed launch

Submitted by
macraig
macraig writes "Somebody should report on the launch of Phoenix early this morning. I'm not bothering to submit a real article because I know better than to expect anything I submit to be approved. Somebody who groks the politics of article submission should do it, though...."
Privacy

+ - More privacy hypocrisy from HP

Submitted by
macraig
macraig writes "On the heels of the Patricia Dunn et al scandal at HP comes an article titled "Staying undercover on the Internet" as part of the November 2006 issue of HP's Technology at Work e-mail newsletter. The newsletter summarizes the article: "When you surf the Web, you leave behind a trail of information about you and your online activities — and this can be misused. Fortunately, you can stay undercover and protect your privacy".

Perhaps HP should have released an advance copy of this article to the reporters and others whose privacy it violated? Can a corporation that authors articles that seem to demonstrate concern for consumer privacy, on the one hand, but wantonly violates privacy when it suits its internal purposes, on the other, really be trusted to hold our privacy in suitably high regard?"
Space

+ - Amazon River once flowed backwards

Submitted by
macraig
macraig writes "As reported in Yahoo! News, yesterday Brazilian scientists and geologists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced their discovery that the Amazon River once flowed in reverse of its current direction, during the middle Cretaceous Period. When the land mass that became South America separated from what we now know as Africa, a mountainous ridge was formed along the eastern coast of the new continent, causing rainfall to drain west because the Andes range had not yet formed."

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