Thursday, February 02, 2006

AT&T sued over NSA spy program

AT&T has been named a defendant in a class action lawsuit that claims the telecommunications company illegally cooperated with the National Security Agency's secret eavesdropping program.





The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in San Francisco's federal district court, charges that AT&T has opened its telecommunications facilities up to the NSA and continues to "to assist the government in its secret surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the suit, says AT&T's alleged cooperation violates free speech and privacy rights found in the U.S. Constitution and also contravenes federal wiretapping law, which prohibits electronic surveillance "except as authorized by statute." Kevin Bankston, an EFF staff attorney, said he anticipates that the Bush administration will intervene in the case on behalf of AT&T. "We are definitely going to have a fight with the government and AT&T," he said.

AT&T said Tuesday that it needed to review the complaint before it could respond. But AT&T spokesman Dave Pacholczyk told CNET News.com last week in response to a query about NSA cooperation: "We don't comment on matters of national security."

A Los Angeles Times article dated Dec. 26 quoted an unnamed source as saying the NSA has a "direct hookup" into an AT&T database that stores information about all domestic phone calls, including how long they lasted.

If the Bush administration does intervene, EFF could have a formidable hurdle to overcome: the so-called "state secrets" doctrine. The state secrets privilege, outlined by the Supreme Court in a 1953 case, permits the government to derail a lawsuit that might otherwise lead to the disclosure of military secrets.

Source: here

1 Comments:

Blogger Voice 1 said...

Good luck to EFF, it certainly appears that they have a sound case.

February 02, 2006 12:13 pm  

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