FBI: Customers Might Sue If They Knew Companies Were Helping With Wiretaps

from the uh...-isn't-that-the-point? dept

It’s really quite stunning to see how the government justifies its overreaching efforts into citizens’ privacy. The latest example comes from the ACLU, which found a gem in the heavily redacted documents it retrieved via the Freedom of Information Act in seeking info about the warrantless wiretapping program. One bit of information they found has the FBI saying it thinks the public should not know about companies that are helping the feds with warrantless wiretapping because (gasp) people might sue about their rights being violated:

“Specifically, these businesses would be substantially harmed if their customers knew that they were furnishing information to the FBI. The stigma of working with the FBI would cause customers to cancel the companies’ services and file civil actions to prevent further disclosure of subscriber info.”

Yes, that’s the FBI saying that it shouldn’t be forced to say who’s violating their rights, because people might get upset that their rights are being violated and sue. And that’s bad for business. This is a justification for secretly spying on people without a warrant? That people would get upset and sue? Once again, the feds seem to be arguing that the law should be whatever is most convenient for them, rather than about what most protects the rights of citizens against over-intrusive behavior by the government.

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Comments on “FBI: Customers Might Sue If They Knew Companies Were Helping With Wiretaps”

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pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

Check Part 2 of this story posted today.


paraphrasing – “If people knew these companies were helping us, the companies would sue the government to not have to provide this info.”

So they also know the companies would challenge this in court – and likely win since they’d have big biz money behind them.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

as much as i thought i would like an edit button (ya know, cuze i make some doozies too) i actually changed my mind.

its nice to know that once someone breaks out with the super-tard and posts, its there and cant be altered which often leads to many entertaining hours of watching them twist in the wind trying to explain and defend their comments.

the edit button would make all that a thing of the past…

Thomas (profile) says:

No big surprise.

The FBI knows they are breaking the law via warrantless wiretapping and they don’t want to have to deal with anyone finding out about it.

The spooks do whatever they d*** well please, and they do not care one bit about any such silly things as the Constitution or enacted laws.

I’m not sure what’s worse; the government or the criminals; the line is fast blurring.

Anonymous Coward says:

The stigma of working with the FBI would cause customers to cancel the companies’ services and file civil actions to prevent further disclosure of subscriber info.

You know, if the people at the FBI had just a tiny bit of self-awareness and empathy, it might occur to them that if people would freak out and start lawsuits if they knew what the FBI were doing, maybe the FBI shouldn’t be doing those things.
Of course, the fact that the FBI doesn’t show any concern for the people they’re supposed to be protecting is in itself one of the reasons people distrust them to the point where, as the FBI themselves said, any company known to be working with them gets abandoned and sued by their customers.

Between the FBI and the ICE, the US government seems to be doing its darndest to make the US a bad place to run a business. That’s not going to help the economy, y’know.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Immunity

“No, Obama granted the telecoms immunity. One reason he doesn’t get my vote next time”

AFAIK, the president does not have this sort of authority.
In this case, as in most, congress passes a law, the president signs it and the courts attempt to sort it all out.
btw, Bush also approved of passing such legislation.

Hans says:

Re: Re: Re: Immunity

Well, US Presidents sign executive orders for all sorts of things some say they don’t have the authority for…

But on the subject of Obama and immunity: Bush asked Congress for retroactive immunity, Congress put it in a bill. Senator Obama said he would filibuster any bill with retroactive immunity, but when given the chance did not, and voted in favor of the bill.

Once President, his Attorney General successfully ended law suits, using the new law, because the Attorney General’s role is to defend the laws passed by Congress. You decide.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: How can you write about privacy?

Not apples and oranges. The article is about the govt. using private companies. This site is a private company, as are google and quantcast. And it’s been well documented that both google and quantcast will and do sell their data to the govt.–as do yahoo, Microsoft, et. al., all of whom admit the practice. Privacy is privacy. Either you believe in it or you don’t.

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