Press release: Chicago Activists Target AT&T Over Internet, Privacy, and Corruption

Posted by Mitchell - September 28, 2006 (entry 436)


Contact: Chicago Media Action
P.O. Box 14140, Chicago, IL 60614 USA
1-866-260-7198 (voicemail)
1-773-641-2151 (cellphone)


May 18, 2006 -- Chicago activists will hold a protest action on Wednesday, May 24, at 4pm, against AT&T, entitled "AT&T: Bringing Us To Tiers". The Chicago action, one of a series of actions on a nationwide day of protest against major phone and cable companies, will take place at the AT&T offices at the intersection of Congress Parkway and South Federal Street, immediately west of the Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago.

At particular issue is the internet's first amendment -- the guarantee of non-discrimination of internet content, which some call "network neutrality". Related legislation under consideration in Congress would eliminate community access television and all local control of telephone and cable TV franchising. This would also likely escalate discriminatory redlining by phone and cable corporations against low-income households and communities. Locally, AT&T is suing six Chicago suburbs over public right of ways. These issues are also punctuated by a growing list of scandals involving corporate and government corruption, dangerous mergers, and complicity with illegal NSA domestic spying.

The demonstration and outreach, organized by the media reform group Chicago Media Action, will spotlight the phone giant's legislative and legal assaults on Chicagoans' rights and freedoms, including its attempt to severely compromise network neutrality.

AT&T and other phone companies are presently working to establish a "tiered internet", where websites and internet-based video and audio would download much faster for persons and corporations able to pay higher fees, and much slower or not at all for everyone else. This is unlike the internet we currently enjoy in that, right now, users have a substantial measure of control of what is viewed on the internet and its speed. But that consumer control of speed and access would likely fall prey to these companies. A diversity of smaller community groups would stand among the losers in this scheme.

The May 24 Chicago action is part of a "National Day of Media Outrage", with similar protest actions by grassroots organizations in other cities, including New York City, Boston, and San Francisco. To learn more, visit,, and

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