Verizon Says It Has A First Amendment Right To Illegally Give Your Call Records To The Government

from the that's-an-interesting-way-to-look-at-things dept

The nation's biggest telcos are working hard to make the lawsuits against them for passing customer call records and other info to the government as part of its program of warrantless wiretaps disappear. AT&T's argument that it was just following government orders didn't wash with a judge, and now Verizon is claiming that its passing of information to the government is protected by the First Amendment. Yes, you read that correctly: it says the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is unconstitutional, and the information it passed to the government -- in apparent violation of it, and to comply with the sort of warrantless surveillance the ECPA was designed to prevent -- is constitutionally protected free speech. This seems tenuous at best, but it fits with Verizon's MO. The company always tries to whitewash its customer data leaks by filing lawsuits and trying to shift the blame onto pretexters and information brokers, and making the problem appear to be solely these people's activities, rather than its own inability to protect customer data. Likewise in this case, it contends that it's done nothing wrong, and that the ECPA makes the mistake of trying to prevent free speech, rather than putting restrictions on the government's ability to ask for the information. Of course, those restrictions exist (in the form of having to get a warrant), but didn't really work so well here. Verizon's complicity seems pretty obvious and its free-speech claims look like little more than a hail-mary attempt to shirk liability for disclosing the customer information. That may not be necessary, though, if the Bush administration's attempts to get Congress to pass a law giving the telcos immunity from these sorts of lawsuits are successful.

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  1. identicon
    dobestpossible, 7 May 2007 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Uhh-huh

    Notice that you are one the few left that understand our country's founders way of thinking regarding freedom. Majority of these posters are illogical, ignorant, or just following the "I have nothing to hide, so so-what about your rights" chant.
    For those who are so stupid, consider this:
    Do you wish others to tell you everything to and not to do? Can you trust some stranger to give you the best advice for you or your loved ones? Is money not what everyone is motivated by? Are your thoughts and ideas supposed to be automatically overshadowed because you think of yourself as small and worthless, and the ideas of others are always more important? Should you not be concerned that unknown people are monitoring your actions, passing judgments of what they consider to be right and wrong, and have the power to intervene into your life/home/assets to do further harm?
    There are many things that majority of people consider wrong, but there are the "others" that disagree. For example, many (myself included) feel children should not be molested sexually. There are child molesters that feel it is their right to have sex with kids. Yet most know that is wrong-despite what molester's argument is. It should be universal that what is right is protected and what is wrong is not tolerated. Focus on the homosexuals that feel it is their right to disgust heterosexuals and get the right to marriage, healthcare, etc. Such sexual deviants are not right in their thinking or actions. If the people who know right from wrong allow those homosexuals that do wrong to get away with passing laws making it acceptable, than the next group of wrongdoers will stand up and say "we want our right to do wrong" as well. I think the illegal immigrants may be that group, but after that group, it will be the pedophiles and their right to have sex with anyone that they find will "get them off" as they so please (which will be the helpless children). I am shocked that people do not condemn wrong doers anymore, but most supposed "adults" are too connected to television than reality to know anything. Everything has to have a "cachy little rhyme" to garner attention from public, can't use intelligent speech anymore because "it's boring" for the simple. I also disagree with everyone having a right to vote, as it has caused our country to run debates as a beauty contest rather than leadership of future growth and development. Its all about what the "majority" thinks, and the majority can't even recite the bill of rights from the top of their head, completely re-worked the Constitution to shorthanded excerpts that have lost the real meaning, and don't care about the United States of America.
    America is spoiling like an old banana and drastic actions to recover true values is needed. I would start with executing drug dealers and drug users. Nothing less will clear the population of the worthless and valueless. Beat the drug habit on your own as you have started your addiction, or die.
    Many are too scared of death, and executions. Death is a natural occurence and is inevitable for everyone, sooner or later. Those who live but don't act right, and those actions wrong the right, should be put to the grave sooner rather than later. It is going to be necessary in order to keep chaos from destroying the people that do right. If we don't, everyone will suffer, entire world will be hungry, businesses won't be able to exist, and socialist governments are failures in reality but look nice in intentions written on paper.
    ----Rant Over------

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