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Comcast Censorship: Complaint to MA Attorney General

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Dear Attorney General Martha Coakley of Massachusetts:

On May 9, 2006, the Town of Brookline, (MA) renewed its Television license with Comcast of California/Massachusetts/Michigan/Utah, Inc. ("Comcast").

This license was renewed with the assumption that Comcast would perform its duties with integrity and would uphold Federal statutes through its performance of services to the residents of the Town of Brookline.

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However, information has been brought to my attention that that Comcast has been engaging in censorship in violation of Constitutional law:

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Amendment 1 - Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Amendment 4 -The right of the people to be secure in their papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.

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Amendment 5 - No person shall be deprived of liberty, or property, without due process of law.

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I learned of this situation from the following email from Democracy Peace Team:

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Excerpt: "Comcast, which has a history of censoring political content is STILL abusing their monopoly power to suppress political speech. Last week in San Francisco they REFUSED to accept the new Shirley Golub TV ad, in her congressional primary challenge against Nancy Pelosi." mailto:democracy@peaceteam.net.

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Researching this issue also reveals numerous Comcast subscribers complaining of censorship, i.e.

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1. Blocked file.

A Comcast rep states: "we block uploading of Bit Torrent files ... nothing that can be done ...we are blocking it." http://joeon.net/post/2007/10/Is-Comcast-censoring-my-internet-content.aspx .

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2. Blocked Events/Assemblies.

"Comcast ... censors ... political topics, and impedes the ability of people to associate with each other, ...no due process. A phrase or web address is tried and convicted ... without the knowledge of those involved... everyone working on this campaign was having strange Email problems.... Volunteers ...complaining all over the country ... unable to receive any Email with "www.afterdowningstreet.org" in ...the Email. we would have ... more events organized by now ... if not for this block http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0716-20.htm.

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Blocked Activist's Advertisements.

We contacted Comcast, the largest cable company in Connecticut - and in the U.S. We sent them the link to the ad on July 18. We signed the contract on July 21 and sent the link to the documentation. We gave them our credit card. Everything was ready - except for Comcast's censors. We waited... and waited... and waited. Each day we were told the censors were reviewing the ad. But we were never told when - or even if - they would decide. Frankly, this censorship is intolerable. Our ad is factual. It is based on a report by a credible, non-partisan organization. The report was credible enough to appear in the New York Times and other publications. http://impeachpac.org/lamont-ad-1-censorship.

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Censorship constitutes an "unlawful taking" of information, in violation of State and Federal statutes. Disturbing events also stands in violation of.

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MGL Chapter 272: Section 40. Disturbance of assemblies Section 40. Whoever wilfully interrupts or disturbs ... assembly of people met for a lawful purpose shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one month ... twice convicted ... such imprisonment shall not be suspended. http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/272-40.htm.

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Given the evidence, I request the Massachusetts Attorney General's office investigate Comcast's operations within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Sincerely,

Susan F. Allen, M.Ed.

Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation (OCABR)E-Mail Sent SuccessfullyWe will respond to your message as soon as possible. Please note that the average response time for e-mails is within one business day. If you need an immediate answer to your question, or would like to speak with a member of our consumer hotline staff, please call us at 617-973-8787 or toll-free at 888-283-3757. The Official Website of the Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation (OCABR) http://www.mass.gov/cgi-bin/pagencies.cgi

 

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My commitment to uphold our civil rights and defeat the "War on Freedom" inspires me to work collaboratively with people, activists groups and communities. I'm a Legal Advocate, M.Ed. University of Michigan. My interest is to bridge (more...)
 

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