Re: AT&T Doesn't Like My Last Name

In TELECOM Digest V25 #126, wrote (in part):

>> The "new" AT&T (formerly SBC, my local phone company) sent me >> a form letter stating that my user ID does not comply with >> their new rules and needs to be changed, or they will >> terminate the online access to my account. My AT&T user ID >> happens to be my last name (semenzato), same as my user ID >> everywhere else.

First of all, let's establish the proper context. I believe that the "user ID" to which Mr. Semenzato refers is a user ID which (in conjunction with a password, of course) is intended for use by a customer in accessing the former "MySBC" website which is now called "AT&T Account Manager". It's not an email ID or anything like that; rather it's just an internal identifier local to AT&T's web server. Some of these sites require that the customer choose a user ID while others have been designed to utilize the telephone # NPA-NXX-XXXX as the "user ID". For example, legacy AT&T customers (e.g., not pre-merger SBC like Mr. Semenzato) such as myself log in with our phone number and password to view our latest bill and so forth. It'd be just as simple (maybe simpler) for SBC to have assigned some arbitrary user ID to each account when the customer originally registered for on-line access but they probably figured that a customer would be less likely to forget an ID which he chose himself ... also this would make the login somewhat more persistent and 'portable' if the customer moved and got a new telephone number (yes, I know about LNP).

> It complies with all AT&T rules except possibly their >> profanity clause.

AT&T (nee' SBC) is certainly within their rights to constrain the selection of particular user IDs in any manner they wish ... similar to what is done with the choice of passwords. In the case of passwords, such restrictions are usually applied with respect to the number of characters, mixture of upper and lower case, no easily identifiable text strings, and so forth in order to ensure "strength".

In the case of user IDs, any restrictions (besides those which are purely programmatic like maximum number of characters) probably center either around uniqueness (for obvious reasons) or good-faith [although perhaps a little ham-handed] attempts to maintain a sense of workplace decency/propriety in case a company agent has to view the user ID on their CRT or whatever in the course of routine business.

> This is the first time anybody suggests to me that the first part >> of my last name is a profanity (seems more like a technical term to >> me). I let them know that I was quite offended and they should fix >> their filter to skip the profanity check for certain variations of >> the customer's name. Their response was another form letter >> stating, among other nonsense, that "though this may be a temporary >> inconvenience, we are certain you will appreciate the efforts we >> have taken to protect your information."

This sounds like a pretty standard response from any big corporation these days, not just nasty old Ma Bell. How this managed to offend you is beyond my grasp, of course, unless you omitted or I overlooked some particularly egregious or perjorative phrasing in their form letter. Maybe you could be more specific. After all, they didn't cast any aspersions on you or your Italian (I think Semenzato is an Italian name, if not I apologize) heritage. They just asked you to pick another user ID.

If AT&T (SBC) is providing your local phone service, then they're > almost certainly subject to regulation by your state public > utilities/service commission (see
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or phone > directory blue pages).

Very true.

I suggest you file a complaint with that commission that AT&T is > violating your civil rights by discriminating against you, based on > the ethnicity of your family name, in providing service.

Nonsense. No one's civil rights have been even remotely violated here. Your telephone service remains fundamentally unchanged (you might not like its quality or price, but that's another discussion !)

You could also try pointing out the discrimination to AT&T contacts, > or even to local news media.

Again, AT&T is not discriminating against anyone. I suspect that no one but a bunch of telephone enthusiasts will even be interested --- especially once the facts become clear.

That should get you some attention above the drone level at AT&T.

Ummmmmmm, no I don't think so.

Reply to
Justa Lurker
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