Friday, May 12, 2006


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Both the attorney general and the president have lied to the American people about the scope and nature of the NSA's program, said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "It's clearly not focused on international calls and clearly not just focused on terrorists. . . . It's like adding more hay on the haystack to find that one needle." Let's Talk.

The NSA have been secretly collecting phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, including calls made within the United States, since after September 11, 2003. They have been building up the database using records provided by three major phone companies -- AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. -- but that the program "does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations.

Among major U.S. telecommunications companies, only Qwest Communications International Inc. has refused to help the NSA program.

It violates the Stored Communications Act, Section 2703(c), provides exactly five exceptions that would permit a phone company to disclose to the government the list of calls to or from a subscriber: (i) a warrant; (ii) a court order; (iii) the customer’s consent; (iv) for telemarketing enforcement; or (v) by administrative subpoena.

One government lawyer who has participated in negotiations with telecommunications providers said the Bush administration has argued that a company can turn over its entire database of customer records -- and even the stored content of calls and e-mails -- because customers "have consented to that" when they establish accounts. The fine print of many telephone and Internet service contracts includes catchall provisions, the lawyer said, authorizing the company to disclose such records to protect public safety or national security, or in compliance with a lawful government request.

"It is within their terms of service because you have consented to that," the lawyer said. If the company also consents, "and they do it voluntarily, the U.S. government can accept it."

Well I think the best thing to do at this point, would be to cancel my service with the three (3), companies that I use and switch over to Qwest or some other service that's not involved with this mess. What say you America?

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