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
    Reed, 7 May 2007 @ 7:07pm

    Re: Re: Some interesting points

    "Many are too scared of death, and executions. "

    The ability to kill someone who disagrees with your thoughts is the ultimate tyranny. That's probably why so many people are scared of it.

    "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."

    Murder is not in the order of nature it is of man. Don't confuse the two.

    "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."

    I agree that we need to recover our old values. Our distaste of war (due mainly to the Civil War), our dis-trust of corporation (after all they are only in it for themselves), and our desire to provide for everyone in our country (Puritans we very socialistic)

    The Base values of Christanity from the NEW TESTAMENT (Note: Christians are not Jewish so they should avoid quoting from Old Testament) of Love and respect for all people would be a good start.

    Instead of killing everyone why not try helping everyone. Might not always work out but at least your not covered in the blood of the innocent.

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