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AT&T Blue Room Knows What You Should Hear

By Timmy Watson in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 11, 2007 7:30PM

Eighty years ago AT&T was quite the different company when it came to privacy of its customers and free speech. A quote lifted from a Boing Boing post on Thursday where AT&T spoke out against warrantless surveillance, "The telephone has become part and parcel of the social and business intercourse of the people of the United States, and this telephone system offers a means of espionage to which general warrants and writs of assistance were the puniest instruments of tyranny and oppression."

Flash forward to 2006, the EFF files a class action lawsuit against AT&T for its collaboration with the NSA in its wiretapping and data mining of customer data. Because, as we all know, fighting the war on terrorism means you should have no expectation of privacy. It's for your own safety people.

The latest act of that oppression that AT&T previously fought against, was its censorship of Pearl Jams anti-Bush lyrics at Lollapalooza (or, the festival we promised not to speak of again until next year). 07_08_11_pearljam.jpgThe AT&T "Blue Room" offered those without the dough or stamina the opportunity to watch some of the acts perform on the Blue Room website. Here, the lyrics were censored. The lyrics that were censored were, "George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush, find yourself another home", during the cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall".

Pearl Jam immediately posted the following to their website, "This, of course, troubles us as artists but also as citizens concerned with the issue of censorship and the increasingly consolidated control of the media." The worry Pearl Jam was expressing was one that is troubling many a artist these days, those large and influential companies are literally controlling what we see, hear, and do.

On Thursday AT&T responded to the criticism and placed the blame on a mistake by the Webcast vendor they used for the broadcast. Pearl Jam has both versions of the song on there website and AT&T said they are working with Pearl Jam to put the uncensored version on the "Blue Room" website.