Friday, October 17, 2008
Electronic Frontier Foundation files suit against telecom immunity law
by Larry Geller
I have pointed out that in order for the government to decide which emails are going overseas, they have to have access to all emails. They read them and determine from the header information where they are going. But they need to read all of our emails. Now we learn that they do just that. And they listen to phone calls unrelated to terrorism.
Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed suit to overturn the law that included granting immunity to telecom firms that assisted the government’s illegal wiretapping of Americans. Here’s a snippet:
EFF Challenges Constitutionality of Telecom Immunity in Federal Court
Unconstitutional Law Cannot Shut Courthouse Door on Americans' Privacy Claims
San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Thursday challenged the constitutionality of a law aimed at granting retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the president's illegal domestic wiretapping program.
In a brief filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, EFF argues that the flawed FISA Amendments Act (FAA) violates the federal government's separation of powers as established in the Constitution and robs innocent telecom customers of their rights without due process of law. Signed into law earlier this year, the FAA allows for the dismissal of the lawsuits over the telecoms' participation in the warrantless surveillance program if the government secretly certifies to the court that either the surveillance did not occur, was legal, or was authorized by the president. Attorney General Michael Mukasey filed that classified certification with the court last month.
"The immunity law puts the fox in charge of the hen house, letting the Attorney General decide whether or not telecoms like AT&T can be sued for participating in the government's illegal warrantless surveillance," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "In our constitutional system, it is the judiciary's role as a co-equal branch of government to determine the scope of the surveillance and rule on whether it is legal, not the executive's. The Attorney General should not be allowed to unconstitutionally play judge and jury in these cases, which affect the privacy of millions of Americans."
The article includes links to the legal brief and to more information on illegal NSA spying on Americans.
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