AT&T may immediately terminate or suspend all or a portion of your Service, any Member ID, electronic mail address, IP address, Universal Resource Locator or domain name used by you, without notice, for conduct that AT&T believes … tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries.”
Apparently, Verizon has similar terms as well, according to The Consumerist. So if you write a blog post and criticize Ma Bell (or Verizon)…boom….you are fired. Thankfully, I have Covad DSL and no landline. I guess I am safe for now!
Update: AT&T has sent us a statement saying that as a result of its recent mergers, it has incorporated language from the AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet Terms of Service into the terms for its legacy Worldnet and BellSouth customers. “The language is consistent with that of previous documents for those companies, and is equally consistent with former AT&T and its legacy companies’ policies,” spokesman Brad Mays said in the email. The company respects its subscribers’ rights to voice their opinions and concerns over any matter they wish, he said. “We do not terminate customer service solely because a customer speaks negatively about AT&T,” he wrote.
Update (1:03 p.m.): Verizon’s blog now contains a post pointing out that the language in its Acceptable Use Policy has been there for nearly a decade. “The provision is meant to cover clearly illegal acts that would include things such as impersonating Verizon to conduct phishing scams or to sell services using our name, or the intentional spreading inaccurate information that significantly harms Verizon,” writes John Czwartacki, executive director of external communications at Verizon and the blog’s editor. Browse any public forum, he says, and “…it’s obvious that we do not disconnect the service of people who criticize us or our services.”