Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Stories That'll Frost Your Tonsils

From David Lazarus in the LA Times:

Time Warner Cable doubles fee to not list phone number. That monthly $1.99 fee for something the company isn't doing for customers is now one of the highest of its type in the telecom industry, and there appears to be nothing to justify it.

In other words, Time Warner is charging you almost $24 a year for something they aren't doing for you: publishing your phone number in a phone book.
Time Warner and other telecom companies are charging for a service that consists of them basically not doing anything. And because they continue not to do anything month after month, they keep charging you on the grounds that it's a recurring service.

Time Warner's fee is all the more remarkable because the company doesn't produce its own phone book. It pays Sprint to compile all its customers' names and numbers, and to then pass them along to whichever phone company dominates a particular market for inclusion in that firm's directory.

Just to be clear: That's $1.99 a month not to be in a phone book that Time Warner doesn't even publish.

In 2003, my local provider instituted a $3.00 charge for people who weren't making enough long distance phone calls. What a racket!

In North Carolina
Sheriffs want access to computer files that identify people who have prescriptions for pain killers and controlled substances.
Apparently the state has a huge database of prescription drug users.

For years, sheriffs have been trying to convince legislators that the state's prescription records should be open to them.

"We can better go after those who are abusing the system," said Lee County Sheriff Tracy L. Carter.

Others say opening up patients' medicine cabinets to law enforcement is a terrible idea.

"I am very concerned about the potential privacy issues for people with pain," said Candy Pitcher of Cary, who volunteers for the nonprofit American Pain Foundation. "I don't feel that I should have to sign away my privacy rights just because I take an opioid under doctor's care." Pitcher is receiving treatment for a broken back.

Privacy - Shmivacy! Giving non-medical personnel access to medical databases could never go wrong.

cross posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org

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