by Carlo Longino

Telco's Non-Denial Denials Of Sharing Call Records

from the fudging-it dept

The fallout from last week's allegations that several major telephone carriers turned over customer calling records to the National Security Agency continues, with all three companies -- AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon -- denying any wrongdoing. The three carriers have been on the end of a lot of criticism, perhaps looking at all the credit Qwest is getting for not playing ball with the NSA with a bit of envy, and it looks like all they're trying to do is save some face. They've issued vague denials that, for the most part, dance around the heart of the matter. They deny very specific allegations that are tangential to the underlying point, or say they won't comment on "national security matters". They also talk about only acting with "legal authorization", giving no indication of exactly where that authorization came from, like, say a judge, or just from one of the company's lawyers. AT&T also got dealt a setback in the whistleblower case alleging it gave the NSA illegal access to its users' internet traffic when a judge ruled against the company's motion to suppress some evidence, though the case must still survive a government motion to dismiss it for security reasons. What's really happened in both of these cases isn't clear, and it doesn't look like the truth is anywhere close to emerging. But, for the companies involved, the real damage may not come in the form of privacy lawsuits, but in damage to how consumers perceive them -- and some half-baked denials several days late probably won't do much to help.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Other Brian, May 17th, 2006 @ 3:40pm


    Brings a whole new meaning to 'Damn the Man.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    STJ, May 17th, 2006 @ 3:45pm

    Where do I sign up for the lawsuit against Quest. Um, they've hurt my love of big companies...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Stu, May 17th, 2006 @ 3:49pm

    Telco's Non-Denial Denials - etc

    If you want to know where we are going, here's an important and interesting article that will tell you.


    If you think that one is not important, check this one out. It's not new info but it's true. I bet most people don't know about it.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Emanuel Goldstein, May 17th, 2006 @ 4:04pm

    What's privacy?

    This all goes back, in-my-opinion, to the argument that occurred during G.W.'s first term about a citizens right to privacy. Cookies, massive (and marketable) mailing lists, credit reporting agencies, drug tests for jobs that retarded people can do, and even criminal checks for non-felonius offenses are all heinous invasions of privacy, in my opinion. Unfortunately, we have no right to privacy unless we are a corporation (trade secrets) or some U.S. intelligence agency (national security). It just seems rediculous that our government is myopic enough to see the value of privacy for these entities, but not see the value of an individual's privacy. or it could just be that they are a bunch of distopian hypocrites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Jon, May 17th, 2006 @ 4:20pm

    It could be our measly government contributions (taxes) are not enough to fund their extra-curicular activities. It would be nice for once to not have to buy justice from our own government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    crystalattice (profile), May 17th, 2006 @ 4:21pm

    All in the name of

    It's amazing what corp and govt can get away with when they say it's for the safety of the nation. Having worked in a military intel center, there's actually very little that needs to be classified.

    I think a better way of doing this would be to follow the best leadership example: tell the people why you're doing something and most of the time they won't have a problem. It's only when you say, "Just because", that people start giving you a hard time.

    So, all the Administration needs to do is say, "This is considered a National Security matter because of these reasons...". Of course, most of the reasons will be BS but at least they aren't using a "no comment" style of dodging questions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Nathan, May 17th, 2006 @ 4:35pm

    Let's all hope this makes people and Congresscritters look a little closer at the 'credibility' of the arguments the telecos spout about why Net Neutrality is bad...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    pauly, May 18th, 2006 @ 11:07pm

    Re: What's privacy?

    Amen brother. It always strikes me as telling where the rights and freedoms are retained and where they are eroded. It's as if wealth and power automatically confers virtue and authority. Let's call it neo-calvinism...

    Deregulation and privacy for the powerful, the opposite for those who can't demonstrate with a very simple metric (or is it all about the relationships) that they deserve it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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