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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Filed Under: fbi, privacy, wiretaps

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2011 @ 4:33pm

    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.

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