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Droid: Creepy invasion of privacy has never been so enjoyable

TechRepublic member dcolbert discusses some of the pros and cons of the Verizon Droid, how the Droid compares to the iPhone, and some of his fantasies surrounding Apple, Google, and wireless carriers.
This post was written by TechRepublic member dcolbert.

In my last post, “Smartphones' biggest drawback? Terms of service,” I shared my experience with my previous smartphone, the HTC XV6800 (TyTN), and how I came to acquire Verizon’s new Droid.

As far as terms of service, Verizon has changed their stupid GPS policy with new devices. GPS is a sweet experience, despite the fact that Google MySQL DBs are surely recording every action of every moment of your everyday life and trying to figure out how to monetize all of those things by delivering ads that will make you spend more money.

The ads, which appear as you move from app to app within the Droid, are so non-intrusive that when you DO realize that there are ads on the screen, it’s somewhat startling. But the most surprising, unexpected thing about the Droid, is that it’s actually, truly, a stealthy Google Phone (gPhone). That fact seems to have been lost by the tech industry and journalists. You don't really activate the Droid until you enter your Google account – and once you do, watch out.

My Droid grabbed all kinds of information – contacts from my corporate account, personal account, and Facebook – and integrated it into the most cohesive and well-organized address book I've ever had. And it did this without asking me, telling me, or with me even realizing that this was going to happen. It did this flawlessly, but it was also a little spooky going into my Contacts book and seeing profiles of friends from FB, along with their FB pictures, who had never been in my personal contacts list before.

Google has successfully consolidated and seamlessly integrated YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, plus GoogleDocs, GoogleVoice, and GoogleReader, which all come together within the cloud. In fact, my experience with the Droid illustrates how neatly Google has been working to position themselves as the central broker in all transactions that take place in your digital life.

For example, I decided to use my Droid to post a video to YouTube and share the YouTube post via FB. To my surprise, when I opened the YouTube app, it took me to a YouTube account I’d forgotten that I had. Google hadn't forgotten this account, though. Google is the giant, pink cyber-elephant in the room – and Google doesn't forget.

I’m convinced that Google's master plan is to get you to use as many services and features as possible so that your smartphone is always turned on, in your hands, and in front of your eyes. Ultimately, Google isn’t a search engine or a cloud-based app delivery company – it’s an information warehouse. Google is advertising, as much as McDonald's is actually a real-estate company.

If this sounds like a negative review, let me be clear – creepy invasion of privacy and being cyber stalked by a multi-national global company has never been so enjoyable. The Droid’s ability to integrate, organize, and consolidate your entire digital life -- your accounts, apps, sites, and digital information – is super convenient. I’d even go so far to say that it’s the world's most efficient, accurate, and effective PDA to date.

And that’s the one HUGE thing Droid does that the OTHER one – the one with the fruit on the back of it – DOESN'T. The iPhone cannot match the level of integration that the Droid delivers because of the nature of the Google-ness underlying the device, services, and features. And even if that weren't the case, Google threw in the turn-by-turn GPS to seal the deal.

However, these benefits don’t mean that the Droid is an iPhone "killer." Droid apps are rougher, less-polished, and there’s a lot more evidence of the DIY, home-rolled Linux community core in the Droid apps - and frankly, that isn't going to appeal to the broader consumer audience in the way that iPhone apps do.

Despite that, the 10,000 or so apps in the official Android marketplace are overwhelming. There are also several sources for "non-market" apps that don’t require you to do any special "jailbreak" of your phone or otherwise bypass security. We'll see if Verizon leaves this untouched in the future – but for right now, that’s a significant advantage to the Droid market.

Clearly, the iPhone is the primary competition for the Droid and vice versa. Having 100,000 apps versus 10,000 apps seems kind of like having 40,000 nuclear missiles versus 4,500 nuclear missiles, when 1,500 would be enough to wipe out life on the entire planet. I understand that there are some "special" titles on the iPhone, especially commercial games, that haven't made their way to Android yet. Time will tell if this is a technical limitation or simply that Android didn't have the critical mass to attract those game makers. I suspect it is more the latter than the former.

Here are a few drawbacks of the Verizon Droid:

  • Application management seems a little clunky. Apps exist in a folder or drawer, and if you download an app, it goes into this bucket. You can drag and drop your apps onto one of three desktops, but there isn't a lot of "management" or organization to the scheme.
  • Having MultiTouch disabled, even though PicSay illustrates that the device is MultiTouch-capable, is probably an attempt to avoid a patent lawsuit by Apple – and the touch to zoom works ok, but it still sucks to have to make concessions like that.
  • I also think Verizon's insistence to charge an outrageous additional fee for tethering is ill-advised. Your 5GB unlimited data should be yours to use however you like, hooked up to whatever you want. However, if Verizon wants to put a "high-bandwidth usage" cap on anything exceeding the 5GB unlimited plan, that seems fair to me. What would truly be ideal is if some other major carrier (no, not T-Mobile… I said a MAJOR carrier) responded by allowing free tethering with an unlimited data plan.

Together, Apple and Google will begin to influence how wireless communications companies do business. I also think that Apple and Google will see the benefit in adding free and inexpensive features that are a value-add to consumers, whereas wireless carriers only have the incentive to monetize every bit of service they can in any way possible.

Frankly, I expect AT&T and Verizon will experience what it feels like to be a faceless customer that can easily be replaced and is only welcome as long as they are useful and generating positive growth and income (after all, Google wants to deliver ads – and they don't exactly care where you are or what you’re using when you get those ads). I'm kind of excited by that prospect, because wireless carriers have got it coming.

The big change that the Droid brings isn't the device itself, but rather how it positions Google – and how it exposes how carefully Google has been positioning themselves. The proof of concept is finally there in a way that’s going to start attracting people outside of the tech bleeding edge.

For good or bad, the experience delivers in a way that’s bound to appeal. I'm just not sure what we're giving away to get to that point. At some time in the future, I may wish for the simple days back, when Verizon took advantage of me by charging me twice for the same service. Of course, that will be my last laugh – if Google, using Linux, delivers themselves to a place where they are far worse than Microsoft ever dreamed of being.

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

71 comments
scott
scott

I heard the Droid does not support Active Sync, but only gMail, Yahoo Mail, and some others....How do I integrate with Exchange if that's the case !!?? Did they really blow this !!??

shawn.thorsen
shawn.thorsen

Just an aside, as I'm not sure if this has been mentioned in this thread, but it's true that the pinch-to-zoom multitouch feature that is so loved by iPhone users is NOT in fact activated on the Motorola Droid (although it IS on the European version - go figure). However, like most things in the "DIY, home-rolled Linux community core" ... there's already a work-around for that. The FREE browser avaialble from the Android Market, "Dolphin Browser", allows not only pinch-to-zoom on web pages but also easily intuitive tabbed browsing. And just so you know, I'm not advocating the download of any particular product nor am I in any way connected to the creator - I just know how excited I was when this fact was shared with me and want others to know as well, in case they were still on the fence over this issue. =)

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

Something nobody else has addressed in regards to this "syncing" all contacts, accounts, etc. is this... What happens when you misplace your phone? There are countless numbers of cellphones/PDAs lost or stolen each year. Since the majority of people probably do not password protect their phones when not in use (yes, I'm guilty as well), then when the phone is in someone else's hands, they have FULL ACCESS to all of your information on all services affiliated with Google! Remember, "Access is god" to those with malicious intentions. BTW---would you be as willing to give another corporation that same level of "integration"? Did you give Verizon those contacts from Exchange? What about Microsoft, when using the WinMo powered smartphone? Just curious as to why some people are so quick to divulge so much information to one corporate entity but see "evil" in giving that information to another.

dcolbert
dcolbert

From the TR e-mail newsletter this morning - "and some of his fantasies surrounding Apple, Google, and wireless carriers." LOL! Get your tin-foil hats out! Next Google will be tatooing an Android logo on your forehead!

AlanSDawson
AlanSDawson

Couple of points 1. The configuration of the device lets you select which address books etc are synchronized so is really a case of read the manual before configuring things. 2. Apps do not all have adverts and in many cases the adverts are linked to the free versions of the app - buy the paid for app and the ads go away. 3. Each app at installation tells you which services it will be accessing which is more info than any other smatphone applicatio provides. So you know before you commit to the install that it will access say contacts. If you don't like it then don't install that app.

jumar
jumar

I got a Droid yesterday... still have two days left to give it back. My main concerns are with google and privacy issues in general. The fact that they own double click dot com, and they harvest websearch/IP addy info has always been enough reason for me to shy away. In fact, until I bought the droid I did not have a gmail account, or any google presence at all. Sorry to rant, two quick questions: 1. I do not understand exactly how google knew about your other accounts (facebk, twit, etc.)? You had entered those accout ID's on some sort of google presence (again pardon my lack of google knowledge, for me it is still just a search engine)? 2. When I tried to dl my first app (wallpaper something), Droid warned me (thank you) that the app would have access to among other things, my dialing records and contacts. That statement was too broad for me, so I declined. I understand the app may only access very specific functions on say my dialing records, but the warning was generic. I am not going to give a wallpaper app access to my dialing records for use in whatever way it sees fit. My question is, am I just strange (don't answer that!)??? Or do others find that too intrusive? In general if I do take the phone back, it will be all about google and privacy.... as they say, if you don't like it, don't use it! Ok.

david
david

I like the comment, unlimited 5GB limit. Unlimited and limited in the same sentence. When we use up the 5GB, do we get another one free? Are GB's in blocks of 5? Be clear and don't join the forked tongue double-talk. It is a 5Gb limit. period.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

And what brand loyal Apple consumer would ever want to look outside the services Apple provides? Consider the idea that the netbook market is not validated until Apple compete's in it also? :D (I kid mostly. hopefully my warped humour is on today)

dcolbert
dcolbert

Exchange support and corporate calendar is supported through Outlook Web Access. It is pretty transparent from my experience. You can't actually tell that it is pulling the data, contacts and calendar entries from OWA and not straight from the Exchange connector.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Well, it isn't that the device is hardware incapable of it, it is that the Verizon Droid stock browser doesn't support it. Which is an important distinction. That is why PicSay and Dolphin can allow multi-touch. The reason is clear, I think- there are US patents on the multi-touch that Apple owns, and in the pro-business atmosphere of the US with patent, copyright and IP law, Motorola and Verizon don't want to have to go toe-to-toe with Apple's legal team. They'll leave it up to Sprint and Palm to work out how strong those patents are for now - with the idea that the Droid is aimed at techie users who will find alternative pinch-to-zoom supporting apps, most likely anyhow. Europe has already shown some hostility toward overly protective Patent, Copyright and other corporate IP protection as well as a willingness to zealously prosecute large corporations for anti-trust (the Pirate Bay litigation aside) - so I can see why Motorola would be more willing to engage with the court system of the EU. Dolphin not only has pinch-to-zoom, but the gesture based controls work excellent, as well. It has replaced the default browser on my Droid.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

you need the correct swipe combination to access the device. Google integration ON or not.

dcolbert
dcolbert

And no, I absolutely wouldn't share my passwords with Verizon, although I have a single Windows Passport account I use for all of my various Microsoft accounts. If Microsoft had been less proprietary (or more effective with their passport concept) and my Microsoft login would have allowed me integration with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, andn whatever other sites, I bet I *would* have given Microsoft as much trust as I give Google. Microsoft, like Google, has shown themselves to be a wise steward of this kind of information generally - they have a lot to lose if they behave unethically with private customer information and get caught. Verizon doesn't seem to understand this the way a tech company like Microsoft or Google does. But maybe I am just being naive. Here is another great thing about the Droid. The pattern security feature is broken until you patch to the latest 2.0.1 ROM... so anyone who loses their phone before they update to this rom and *enable* the pattern security feature, has given whoever finds their phone the "keys to the kingdom" for all of their online accounts.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Verizon was setting up Droids for people IN THE STORE on opening day... you can't activate without a Google account. If you had a Google account, they were activating using that account, if not, they were creating a new one. The minute you activate an Android with your Gmail account, it starts syncing and if you've got passthrough accounts, pulling them down (that is, once you log in with your google account, if that account is linked through to FB, YouTube, and other services that use a single Google login, then when you open those apps, they *know* to use that account to log you in... you don't need to tell them to, and in the case of the YouTube app, they don't ASK you - they just assume you want to use that account. I've got multiple YouTube accounts, only one of which is linked to my Google login, but the phone logged me in with the Google linked account, without interaction). On FB, my FB app reset last night (maybe something to do with a silently pushed upgrade? I don't know. The 2.0.1 upgrade came in this morning, and it caused my FB app to reset again, this morning)... When I went back in and re-entered my password the app asked me if I wanted to Sync ALL facebook contacts, SOME facebook contacts, or NONE, and I recall that the first time I logged in - so you're right here, it is an opt in process, and reading the book, FWIW, might have made that more clear (I don't no, does the manual have a "Facebook App" section or does it just cover general Droid behavior?) I'm still not sure exactly where my Outlook contacts integrated from. I know how my Corporate Exchange contacts integrated, but there again, it didn't, that I recall, ask. Activating Corporate Outlook Exchange e-mail brings in those contacts as part of the activation, without any notification. Not the entire Exchange AD list, but those that exist in your own personal phonebook in Exchange. We've discussed the notifications on installing an app in other places in this thread - and I said basically exactly what you say here. Why would your Weather Application need access to your contacts list? It tells you, you decide. Absolutely.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Google is not, and has not for some time been, just a search engine. They're hardly a search engine at all, anymore. They're far more pervasive than that. I think of Google primarily as an e-mail hosting service, these days... but that isn't right either. They also have Google Voice, which I use, and Google Docs, which I use, and iGoogle, which is more of a portal, and Picassa, which is a picture hosting site, and... and... and... They're also partnering with more and more Web 2.0 type sites to offer a single unified "Microsoft Passport" kind of login, but far more convenient (because it works on all kinds of disparate sites, not just on Google sites, whereas Passport pretty much was/is limited to Microsoft sites). So now you can merge your Digg Account, and your Facebook Account, and your YouTube account, to have a single log-in through your Google account (gmail account). No more remembering a dozen different user names (is it dcolbert@woohoo.com or donovanc@heatmail.com or was it donovan_1066@mymail.net or was it PuffDadd01?!?) and different passwords for each and every site... How often do you end up hitting the, "I forgot my user name or password, send me a reset to my email account" button on some website you visit infrequently? Google unified login gets rid of all of that. And when you get a "gPhone" of any sort, G3, G4, or the gPhone itself - that single unified login ports right over to the phone and all the apps, and then the phone gathers, collects, merges, and organizes all of that information for you with logic. It is a neat trick. A CREEPY, neat... trick. As for the apps, lots of apps have broad requests for control that exceed the needs or apparent needs of the app you are installing. Android phone users pretty much universally acknowledge that often we do the "Microsoft Install" routine (click OK a dozen times as fast as possible and accept all the terms without reading them) when installing Android apps. I think the potential for abuse of this is WAY larger on the kind of "anything goes" Android market compared to the iPhone App store where Jobs runs a much tighter ship. So yeah, ask yourself, "Why does my flashlight app need access to all of my contacts and my GPS location". And then decide if you want that app, which is free, or the "paid version" which is $1.99 and act accordingly. (Although the Paid app may have as ridiculous of permissions requirements). The very real answer may be, though, that the free app is targeting you demographically by region for the ads that it will stream to you when you have the app open - and those ad supported apps are free for a reason. I've read several articles about this. It is another one of the potentially troubling aspects of the Android phones. I've been buying in pretty heavy to the trade-off of privacy for convenience and free apps. It is like... a narcotic. Heh. So I wouldn't say you're being weird, but at the same time, you might want to try a few freebies first before you decide you don't want to start chasing the Google Dragon. Come, join us, be assimilated, it'll be better once you give in and become Borg -er, Droid.

dcolbert
dcolbert

To point out my contempt for Verizon's consumer policies. See the link that G-man posted in this thread for more details about how I really feel about the... Unlimited Data Plan with 5GB cap. :) Not only is our 5gb unlimited data plan limited to 5gb of monthly use, but it can only be used to transmit 5gb of unlimited data through our Verizon device. If we want to tether that device and use some of that 5gb unlimited data plan on a notebook or other device, we have to pay Verizon again for that 5gb unlimited data capacity. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? If you're Verizon...

dcolbert
dcolbert

You're right... I forget what the Apple services are... Me? Is that it? I didn't sign up for it when I got my Mini... But there are some important differences. Apple's service is paid, less popular, and with a far more limited market that Google's. But, you're absolutely right. If you've got a Mac, the Apple fee based, web based services, and an iPhone, you'll get the same kind of tightly integrated service across your platforms for sure.

dcolbert
dcolbert

And are you aware of the bug with the swipe pattern on the Droid? I'm not sure if it exists on other Android phones. But I agree, all mobile devices should have the minimum built in security enabled, always.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

but then I guess you take that into consideration when you enter all that on to the device to start with. Good news is that there is a remote wipe service if needed.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

You can turn off the backround 'always on google' service if you please. It is right in there on the phone. You do have an up to date Android phone do you not?

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

It is their ball and they can do as they please. If you don't like go elsewhere! Better still, why not start your own telco company? With the deals you would offer the whole world would sign up. I'm quite sure you would have the needed capacity to serve all...at a cheap price and the ability to upgrage your 'new infrasructure' to cope with future demands.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Yup, the little device will incorporate as much of the parent companies other services as possible. At least Apple's services are more limited in scope than Googles. You'll get the locally stored data on your own machine duplicated to your phone plus the Itunes profile data and maybe the @me or @apple.. whatever it's called now. In the case of Google, they really to have a scary set of services to merge information out of.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I'll be re-enabling the pattern immediately. Although honestly, I'm a little wary of the "pattern" method of protection. It makes sense for a mobile device, but as one continous line that doesn't cross itself, it doesn't seem complex enough. Although the lockouts we've seen have been from people trying to get past the pattern... so, I guess it is secure enough. In the case of the Droid, too secure as too many failed attempts means a hard factory reset.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Which is a Andriod Phone but has no such issue.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I'd rather have a heated debate with someone passionate about their position than a boring discussion with someone apathetic about the issues. Cheers.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

I was just interested in your reaction messages.

dcolbert
dcolbert

You're right... I was being lazy, because I was fairly certain I didn't recall using that exact term. I'm not always right. When you get me on a point that is salient to the discussion - that'll be a happy, happy moment for you - and it could happen. I'd hang in there, if I were you.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

without taking the 2 minutes to check your article as posted. Nothing else to say on that one. Glad you checked however, just to see where I was getting it from.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I told you there would be more opportunities for you to be "right" in our discussion. Specifically, let me quote myself... "let me be clear ? creepy invasion of privacy and being cyber stalked by a multi-national global company has never been so enjoyable." So, I think if you take the line in context, it is pretty clear that there is a bit of hyperbole going on in this sentence and that it is also tongue in cheek. Pretty important to take this statement in context. Because cherry picking just the words you want makes it sound like I'm taking some sort of ideological stand *against* creepy invasion of privacy... In fact, I'm saying something more like it is as good as Cinnabons and Chocolate Milk on a cold winter's day. As for not remembering the specific line, before you focus on that. These *two* articles were a *single* blog post that the editors broke into two pieces, because I suffer from the inability to be concise and frugal with words, a huge liability as a writer. There were a lot of sentences, and even more words, in the complete article I wrote. I feel OK with forgetting a specific line. Hopefully you'll see fit to see past that, too.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I don't write the headlines... As a matter of fact, I'm not sure if I actually called it "Invasion of Privacy" myself in the body of my text anywhere. I called it *creepy* for sure. Just because you "opt-in" for something, doesn't mean it can't be creepy. Just check Craiglist personals if you doubt me on that. Now... the scope of Google's vision into your life is INVASIVE, there is no doubt about that - don't make me trot out the dictionary definition of INVASIVE, because it'll be a lot more convicing than your stab at "Unlimited".... And you're certainly, opt-in or not, sacrificing PRIVACY to allow Google's INVASIVE consolidation and integration of your digital life... So, the headline really is right. It *is* invasion of privacy - opted in or not. Just because you met someone through Craiglist and opted-in to being paddled with a plank doesn't mean it *isn't* a spanking, G-Man. I refer you back to the psychopath who had a fundamental, semantic, linguistic difference of understanding with the rest of society. As I see you make posts about the meaning of "unlimited" and "opt-in" and "invasion of privacy", I'm starting to think that might be the issue here with you.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

if you are willingly opting in and leveraging all of the digital-life-wide integration that Google has assembled then where is the Invasion of Privacy here? You turned it on.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Man... I really stirred up your hornet's nest with some comment I made, didn't I? You're as angry as a beaver with an underbite. You're absolutely *right*. You don't *have* to opt-in to the creepy-scary all-seeing big-brother omnipotency of Google to use the phone - You can take all kind of steps to minimize how much of your digital life the Google Eye of Sauron can see into. I admit it. It defeats a large part of the benefit of having an Android phone - and I'm advocating that Google seems benevolent enough that the trade-off is probably worth it. You're losing site of the trees for the forest with our conversations G-Man. But just because I'm willingly opting in and leveraging all of the digital-life-wide integration that Google has assembled and delivered on the Android handsets... Doesn't mean that it isn't *creepy*, none-the-less. But on a purely technical level, I will concede for the sake of clarity, that you can control how much vision into your digital online life Google has via Android handsets - so the original poster who was concerned about security implications should absolutely take that into consideration before deciding to RETURN the phone. If he is willing to give up on some of the nifty integration features, he can keep his Droid. If he *wants* those features, *he* has to accept the privacy concerns that come along with that decision. You're right. Told you I admit it when I'm incorrect, or even just not clear enough. This is the first time you've been anywhere *near* right in anything you've posted on these threads, though. I look forward to seeing you be right more often.

dcolbert
dcolbert

In our understanding of the correct definition of the word limitless, to completely comprehend what Verizon understands an unlimited data plan to be. If we were brighter, we would understand that 2+2 does not equal 4, which is minus good, but 2+2 does equal a Verizon Unlimited Data plan, which is double plus good. Big Red V is watching you.

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

To a blind and deaf person, a 1mb limit might SEEM to be unlimited. The fact is, if one can reach the limit, then it does not SEEM to be unlimited. Anyone with semblance of a Maths background will know that 'unlimited' cannot be quantified, therefore it does not exist, but declaring that you have something unlimited, must SEEM to be unlimited, else it is a con. Reaching the limit does NOT make it SEEM unlimited, therefore a con. Go get 'em .. Les.

dcolbert
dcolbert

That was only 3 semesters ago. A stagnant mind atrophies. I might cite some readily available examples, but I'm trying to avoid ad hominem attacks here. :P I believe in "lifetime learning". FWIW, I generally avoided statistics in debate. It is far too easy to have numbers turned, twisted, and warped against you by a skillful debater who is quick witted. As you are certainly discovering.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

in you master debater class you pulled over stats 99% of the time.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Is intense. He is like "pro-wireless carrier" version of Chuck Norris. It just is... this is as light as he gets. Go with it. (Actually, I bet Chuck Norris would agree with him philosophically to... so we should be careful - for all we know, G-man *is* Chuck Norris. Isn't G-man a euphamism for a "Fed", too?)

dcolbert
dcolbert

Is that I interpreted the data you provided completely differently than you, and used the report to substantiate (well substantiate) my observations and claims. And we could surely bicker about those interpretations for as long as we wanted with significant people on either side seeing the data your way or mine. Statistics very rarely settle disagreements.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

around a 14% dissatisfaction with the wireless carriers contract & service but a 72% satisfaction rate. I'm in the 72, you the 14. based on this stat there are far more people in my camp than yours.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

What were those figures supposed to prove? They didn't seem to mention data plans at all and it appears to be composite stats for all carriers not just Verizon. I have read articles that say actual usage of a data plan goes way up when tethering a cell phone as apposed to using it without a computer. I am sure that is why Verizon is charging extra for tethering, but I tend to lean towards the it's my 5 gig so let me use it how ever I like. If I go over that (which is more likely with a computer) then that's my fault and I should get charged for it. Bill Edited to add second paragraph

dcolbert
dcolbert

Less than half of wireless carrier customers are "very satisifed". 39% are "somewhat satisfied" (isn't that effectively the same as, "somewhat unsatisfied"? Rhetorical question.) The remaining are all "neutral" at *best*. That doesn't strike me as an industry with a stellar record of customer satisfaction. This is also presumedly broad. Do they deliver good voice service with a reasonable range of plans and prices across the industry, which is, almost certainly at the time this report was conducted, the BULK of wireless subscribers? Sure. People didn't start complaining until wireless phones went beyond voice service and started catering to services outside of the scope of traditional wireless voice communications. I bet the next study shows that satisfaction has dropped overall, as more people have adopted smart-phones. AT&T alone is likely to put a *huge* dent in the numbers we see in this report. Finally, the report admits, from the start, that the numbers are probably small because people don't know that they can complain, or who to go to in order to do it, and the organization responsible for fielding complaints isn't up to the task of responding to those complaints yet. "The FCC ?receives tens of thousands of wireless consumer complaints each year and forwards them to carriers for response, but has conducted little other oversight of services provided by wireless phone service carriers because the agency has focused on promoting competition.?" "Meanwhile, customers don?t know where to complain and the FCC lacks measures to process complaints or identify remedies." I'd say this report supports my claims across the board. The wireless industry needs to start regulating itself, otherwise, it is clear, federal regulators are starting to take notice and will take the issue out of the control of the wireless carriers completely. This is obviously a response to a growing perception that the wireless carriers, as a largely unregulated industry, are acting unethically. So... I'm not sure why you're *snickering* as you give me ammunition that supports my contentions. I *wish* that my oppenents in debate class had been this generous with supplying me with counter arguments to their points.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I *knew* you would be back. "I'm done!" ... indeed. Tehehe... (Edit - ok... my bad... that was the other thread related to this thread, and so far, you *haven't* gone back to that thread...) So, to you, G-man - 5gb SEEMS like there are no boundries? I'd love to take an informal poll here and see how many people agree with you that 5gb SEEMS like an "unlimited" amount of data capacity for a high speed internet connection. Unlimited is SEEMING to have no boundries. Got it... so what *is* -having- no boundries? Do I need the Verizon Omnipotent Data Plan? Forget Friends and Family, this is the Time and Space plan... *snicker*...

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

the dictionary clearly states that Unlimited means: Having or SEEMING to have no boundaries Lacking or SEEMING to lack boundaries

dcolbert
dcolbert

I actually accept the Unlimited Data plan with a 5gb cap. It wasn't CLEAR when I signed up that there was a bandwidth limit, and to be fair, it is fair to assume that if something is sold as an "Unlimited Data Plan", you shouldn't need to worry about reading the fine print to find out that "unlimited" is defined as "Anything under 5gb of total usage"... but, whatever. I understand the reasons beyond pure greed for trying to limit excessive use of a Wireless network. Too many people streaming Pandora 24x7 on their device, and those of us with more realistic needs suffer. Got it. Tell me how that justifies charging me twice to use that "unlimited" 5gb of data with the device tethered to my laptop. Explain for me, oh seer of great wisdom. You keep saying this word, "Unlimited", I don't think it means what you think it does, Verizon. I read an essay once, on psychological psychopaths, frauds and con-artists. One example was a master forger who created forgeries so convincing, they were "indetectable". He had a basic semantic inability to understant the moral wrongness of his actions, because he felt that his forgeries were in every way equal to our superior to the originals he copied. Because he felt they would never be discovered, he did not accept that it was wrong to make them. He was unrepentant, even after conviction, based on this argument. I believe these were precious coins. Perhaps Verizon suffers the same issue with the term "Unlimited". They don't understand "unlimited" the way the rest of the world does.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If only they'd been able to kill that misserable long eared Gungan that got away. ;)

dcolbert
dcolbert

I mean, there is no doubt that watching Google execute their vision is *impressive* - But to use a geek analogy - I'm sure watching the Empire unfold their plans against the Old Republic would have been an awesome and fear inspiring thing to witness firsthand, too. :)

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