AT&T Cracks Down on Unauthorized iPhone Tethering

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Jailbreakers are constantly on the run, always with eyes wandering, looking for those who are looking for them. So, too, are digital jailbreakers, the individuals who hack their electronic devices to work around software lock-downs -- or they should be. Using some pretty basic technology, AT&T has pinpointed the jailbreakers among its customers and is now attempting to push those customers to, you know, actually start paying for the services they're using. Some rather ominous text messages and e-mails have been sent out this morning

Here, part of the e-mail that AT&T has sent out to jailbreakers, which says, basically, "sign up for our $540/year tethering plan or we'll sign you up for it ourselves:"

We've noticed your service plan may need updating.

Many AT&T customers use their smartphones as a broadband connection for other devices, like laptops, netbooks or other smartphones- a practice commonly known as tethering. Tethering can be an efficient way for our customers to enjoy the benefits of AT&T's mobile broadband network and use more than one device to stay in touch with important people and information. To take advantage of this feature, we require that in addition to a data plan, you also have a tethering plan.

Our records show that you use this capability, but are not subscribed to our tethering plan.

If you would like to continue tethering, please log into your account online at www.wireless.att.com, or call us at 1-888-860-6789 Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. CST or Saturday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. CST, by March 27, 2011 to sign up for DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering. Here are details on the plan:

DataPro 4GB for Smartphone Tethering
• $45 per month (this gives you 4GB in total, combining both your smartphone data plan for $25 and the tethering feature, $20)
• $10 per each additional GB thereafter, added automatically as needed
• Mobile Hotspot capabilities are included for compatible Smartphones

If we don't hear from you, we'll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB after March 27, 2011. The new plan - whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you - will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan.

MORE ON AT&T TETHERING:

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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