Little brother is watching you

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I don’t know what the fuss is about with this Operation TIPS. Personally, I think it’s a great idea myself.

Think about it – all those unamerican people grouped into one organization, easily tracked, as well as highly visible with little stickers in their window. It’s never been easier to spot and know the enemy.

Great idea. The Bush administration should come up with more like that.

Legal, Laws, and Regs

More on TIPS

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The Washington Post has an article on TIPS that cuts through the hyperbole to the heart of the issue, and the ultimate cause for concern:

Public vigilance is a good thing, and so is encouraging citizens to alert authorities to terrorist activity. It makes sense to educate people who work at potential targets or at places where lethal cargo may be smuggled. But having the government recruit informants among letter carriers and utility workers — people who enter the homes of Americans for reasons unrelated to law enforcement — is an entirely different matter. Americans should not be subjecting themselves to law enforcement scrutiny merely by having cable lines installed, mail delivered or meters read. Police cannot routinely enter people’s houses without either permission or a warrant. They should not be using utility workers to conduct surveillance they could not lawfully conduct themselves.

Short, but extremely well written article.

Brought to us through the kind offices of a new and improved MetaFilter

Just Shelley

SprintPCS Nightmare

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’m broke. I barely have enough money to get by through the next month. And my “royalty” check I received this weekend was only 36.00 – I was expecting 1000.00. Still, I can manage. I can manage…until today.

Don’t worry – I’m not asking for money. Support, yes. Advice, yes. But not money.

The story:

When I moved to San Francisco last year, I let Sprint talk me into covering my long distance in addition to my cellphone. I figured what the hey, I use my cellphone for long distance anyway.

Long story short – I had International calls in May. Total time of 195 minutes. That’s a little over 3 hours.

I tried to call with my cellphone, but was told that I didn’t have international calling turned on for the cellphone. So, I used my regular phone and my Sprint long distance. I assumed that the rate at the time was the standard high but manageable amount of 40 cents a minute, US. Cost would be about 80.00 at this – stiff, but I could still swing it.

Well, I just received my bill – $618.84. Let me repeat this amount – $618.84. Over $3.00 a minute.

I called SprintPCS – there must be a mistake. There had to be a mistake. I don’t have this kind of money. I was told by Sprint “customer service” that since I had not signed up for International calling, I wasn’t eligible for the .40 a minute rate. I told the person I wasn’t originally told that I had to sign up for International calling when I signed up for SprintPCS to cover my long distance. I didn’t even know there was a specialized international long distance calling plan until I tried calling with the cellphone.

(If I had stayed with the regular phone company, it would have .40 a minute.)

The supervisor told me that they didn’t say anything to me when I signed up for long distance, because I had never called International numbers before. (And I’m not exaggerating this one, this is exactly what he said.)

Since I had never called International, they didn’t feel that they had to tell me there was a massive penalty for calling international numbers without signing up for international service. But once I had, they would tell me the next time I signed up for long distance service and I could get international rates on calls in the future.

(Question – why let the call go through if a person is supposed to sign up for international calling in the first place?)

I told the supervisor that I was signed up for international calling on the cellphone. This doesn’t matter because I needed to be signed up for the other phone – the regular phone. The process isn’t by customer, it’s by phone.

Oh – and there’s nothing they can do about the fact that they didn’t tell me ahead of time about having to sign up for international calls or face a penalty.

If anyone has suggestions on how I can fight this, please, please, please email me. Please. I’m pretty desperate.

Update: I had thought about some form of call in campaign against SprintPCS, but let’s face it – we’re all nothing to corporations such as this. If you don’t believe this, all you have to do is look at the daily paper.

Moral of Story: It may seem as if there’s no difference between your national and international weblogging buddies, but there is – about 3.00 a minute. As a suggestion – stick with email.