If I had a plan with Verizon, I would cancel it immediately. What’s next?
Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless has rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program.
Legal experts weigh in:
“This is right at the heart of the problem,” said Susan Crawford, a visiting professor at the University of Michigan law school, referring to the treatment of text messages. “The fact that wireless companies can choose to discriminate is very troubling
The message would go ONLY to the people who have signed up to receive NARAL text messages. So, if I PAY Verizon for phone service they can censor my phone reception and decide who gets to send me text messages. If I’m the customer, shouldn’t I get to decide who sends me text messages?
China controls messages sent via text. Are we now aspiring to the Chinese standard?
In turning down the program, Verizon, one of the nation’s two largest wireless carriers, told Naral that it does not accept programs from any group “that seeks to promote an agenda or distribute content that, in its discretion, may be seen as controversial or unsavory to any of our users.” Naral provided copies of its communications with Verizon to The New York Times.
Here’s an example of a recent message:
Naral provided an example of a recent text message that it has sent to supporters: “End Bush’s global gag rule against birth control for world’s poorest women! Call Congress. (202) 224-3121. Thnx! Naral Text4Choice.”
While you’re here, Please make that call. It’ll only take a couple of minutes.
Timothy Wu, a law professor at Columbia
Professor Wu pointed to a historical analogy. In the 19th century, he said, Western Union, the telegraph company, engaged in discrimination, based on the political views of people who sought to send telegrams. “One of the eventual reactions was the common carrier rule,” Professor Wu said, which required telegraph and then phone companies to accept communications from all speakers on all topics.
If you have an account with Verizon, please call and protest. The best way to convince them to adjust their policy is the threat of lost revenue.