Technology and Business Law Blog

Our Privacy in Jeopardy

Unwarranted searches at U.S. borders to eavesdropping and illegal spying into private telephone conversations have become the norm of the day. It was a victory for the telecom companies and the Bush administration when the Senate today voted to preserve retroactive immunity from lawsuits for telecom companies and approved the Surveillance Bill. It is a classic example of caving into pressure.

The EFF site statesthat “Despite the strong leadership of senators like Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold, the Senate failed today to block provisions of a pending surveillance bill that would grant immunity to phone companies that assisted the government in illegal electronic surveillance.The Dodd-Feingold amendment to remove immunity from the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) failed in a 31 to 67 vote, and final Senate passage of the FAA is expected later today”.

Numerous organizations like the ACLU, EFF etc had filed lawsuits against telecommunications companies like AT&T, Sprint etc alleging that the companies had violated privacy laws. This warrant-less surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment, the  Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and the Electronics Communications Privacy Act.

The Senates action today is one step further into giving permission to the government to violate an individuals privacy without the individual having any recourse. These kinds of warrant-less searches are done under the umbrella of the Protect America Act which gives the government almost unlimited authority to conduct such surveillance on anybody without requiring any form of warrant.

Now, this Act was passed to monitor the calls of ‘suspected terrorists’ but court documents filed in these class action suits will show that the phone lines of ordinary citizens were were tapped and the American public were the ones affected.


February 12, 2008 Posted by | privacy | Leave a comment