I keep reading stories about federal regulators investigating, and issuing fines to telcos like AT&T paying $105 million for unauthorized charges on customer bills, and Verizon and Sprint to pay $158 million for cramming charges on customers’ bills. Maybe I am biased (I am), but I can’t help think about the potential for APIs, and OAuth to help in this situation.
As an AT&T, and Verizon customer, I can say that I could use help in auditing my accounts. I’m sure other users would pay for a service that would help monitor their accounts, looking for irregularites. I think about services like Cloudability, that help me manage costs in my cloud computing environement–why aren’t there more of these things in the consumer realm?
If all services that are available online simply had APIs for their accounts, this would be possible. It would also open up the door for government agencies, and public sector organizations to step up and provide research, auditing, and potentially data counseling for the average citizen and consumer.
I want more access to the data I generate via the telcommunication companies. I also want to be able to take advantage of services that help me manage my relationships with these companies. I also think there should be a certain amount of regulatory acess and control introduced into all of this, and APIs provide not just a programmatic way to do this, it can be done in a real-time way, that might provide the balance we need–rather than just every few years when the feds have the information they need, and the enforcement power they need to take action.