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Assurance Wireless Rips Off the Government to Make a Profit from Shitting on the Poor

January 10, 2020

I wrote recently what a piece of junk my newest Assurance Wireless phone that I’ve had since around June is, that it’s a potential death trap that may be unavailable in an emergency because it does whatever the hell it wants and crashes regularly.

Today I was in Albany with the Homes for All coalition, demonstrating and trying to get members of the state legislature to sign on to our radical platform, building on or successes last year by getting the bills that did not pass previously passed this year and going even further to guarantee housing. Joe from VOCAL-NY was in charge of the bus and making sure everyone gets back to New York City. The security staff at the end of the concourse were overzealous. They found the pitch pipe I use to compose in my backpack and mistook it for a speaker, but they insisted that as a musical instrument, it is a “noisemaker” that can neither be brought into the Capitol nor left with security, the only option being to take it to my bus (where we had been told we were allowed to leave our belongings). Joe was shouting distance away by this point, and I walked through the concourse, which is more than a five minute walk, but I was not able to text him until I was almost out of the building because the phone, which had spontaneously started playing audio from a site i had never visited on an app I had never downloaded (Opera Mini) but had never removed, either. I was yelling in the concourse about how Assurance Wireless rips off the government for a paperweight. Its estimate of battery power even varies wildly. I had charged it up to 45% while we waited for the buses of our allies from Brooklyn (including Neighbors Together) and the Bronx (including CASA and Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition) to arrive. The bus we took up had no leg room and no electrical outlets. I was all the way to the outside by the time, and the bus was not parked by the curb (not that I had expected it would be allowed to stay, nor was it in any nearby parking lot. It was showing under 5% power as I was trying to communicate with Joe, then went up over 15%, a phenomenon I first noticed at the Occupy an Unequal World meeting last Fridaym something none of my other phones had.

Joe suggested that I try at the State Street entrance, so after failing to find a place I was allowed to go from the parking garage, I walked all the way back to the security check area, through the Abrams building, and to the State Street entrance. Security there asked if I had anything electronic in my backpack, they ran it through, concurred, and let me up without issue. This got me separated from the group, but up at the center of the press conference with Flowers, Felix Guzman (who was on the same bus as me), and Paulette Soltani. I suppose I was more psyched because of how the phone had enraged me even if I missed some of the speakers–if Flowers spoke, which she usually does, I missed it. I ended up lobbying with New York Communities for Change rather than with VOCAL, but all that meant was going to different people, in this case Taylor Darling, who said she would think about it because she gets a ton of funding from developers, and Charles Rangel, who wasn’t available and whose staff said that we would need an appointment. I managed to make it back to my bus despite the dead battery and separation from my group.

An Ars Technica article released just today describes deliberately loaded malware onto a slightly more advance model (686 rather than 683). People may have thought I was crazy making very specific complaints about my phone and its provider ripping off the government, but it’s now verified fact, not just something others were confirming here on WordPress as well as on Facebook. I tagged the Federal Communications Commission on Facebook (as indeed, I have in the past), but I wonder if what Assurance Wireless gas done is considered a criminal act. I accused them of being criminal on Facebook and imply it here without explicitly saying so. As I said in my earlier post, people will be hurt or killed as a result of this phone’s misbehavior in an emergency, and they are taking public money to do it, which ought to be illegal if it isn’t. I consider it fraud and depravity, but have not researched the legal obligation they must meet in order to receive the funding. As was stated at the event, “just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.”

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