Although most people have known since the Patriot Act passed that the NSA has been spying on regular American citizens, the scope of their prying wasn’t fully known until recently, when it came out that Verizon, along with virtually all other telecom companies, are sharing data with the government and probably allowing them to listen to phone calls.
Why does this surprise anybody? Through deregulation, these companies are now able to do pretty much whatever they want – and they know you need them, so they don’t need you, and they treat you like it.
I have Time Warner internet.
Until recently I had Time Warner cable TV as well.
Time Warner is the only option I have for internet in my neighborhood. So, in my neighborhood they have a monopoly and in America they have an oligopoly meaning that like three companies make billions of dollars and don’t really have to do much.
Thank Ronald Reagan and his ridiculous face for this.
So, I was paying for cable TV and I decided that I didn’t need it. I stream shows to my TV.
So, I called to cancel my cable. I braced myself, because I knew they would fuck with me, because they don’t care about me.
“So, you want to cancel your cable?” Said the voice on their 800 number, “Okay, so that is going to raise your internet bill by $29.99 a month…”
What? No it isn’t. I told them that wasn’t going to happen. It wasn’t in the contract, it wasn’t anywhere. It just sounded like the guy was making stuff up. After some haggling I was able to cancel the cable and keep my internet at the same price.
“When do I need to return my cable box?” I asked.
“Oh, just keep it as long as you want.” The guy said. This sounded real suspicious, and I didn’t trust anything about it, but I was sick of talking to them so I hung up.
A few days later I got my bill from them. Higher than usual. I noticed a $49.99 fee on it. I called Time Warner to see what was up. They explained that this was the fee for canceling my cable. I told them this was bullshit, and after a few minutes they got rid of the charge. I also noticed that I was being charged 20 bucks a month to keep the cable box, so the guy’s nonchalant attitude about returning it suddenly made sense.
After canceling, I was bombarded with about three phone calls a day from Time Warner, asking if I’d like to sign up for cable again, and ironically wanting to know how they could serve me better while robo-calling me to a significant inconvenience.
So, I’m sure a lot of you have similar experiences with Verizon and every other corporation whose services have been consolidated.
They share your records because they don’t respect you, and they don’t respect you because they know you aren’t going anywhere.
This is what deregulation is all about. And their C.E.O.’s are laughing all the way to your bank.