On 2/2/2006 1:55 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> Matthew Fordahl wrote:
>> A civil liberties group sued AT&T Inc. on Tuesday for its alleged role
>> in helping the National Security Agency spy on the phone calls and
>> other communications of U.S. citizens without warrants.
> I am very sensitive to privacy issues. However, this particular case
> isn't so easy. Clearly, part of it is motivated by politics, that is,
> people are upset because they don't like Bush in general, not because
> of the specific issue involved and I don't like that.
> As the "moral principle", this country was attacked in an act of war
> and clearly the govt has the duty and responsibility to take defensive
> measures against a further attack. Spying on the enemy and possibly
> traitors within this country is a classic activity in time of war.
> IMHO, part of the issue here is what was done with the information
> gained. If they turned it over to prosecutors for other routine
> crimes (ie tax evasion, drug running, import laws), I would object
> since normal domestic search warrants were not obtained. But AFAIK
> that was not done.
>> It also seeks billions of dollars in damages.
> "Damages" means the plaintiff suffered a monetary loss in some way as
> a result of the defendant's action. Unless the govt utilized the
> gleaned information against someone, I'm not sure there was any loss
> suffered. I am also very hesitant about the class action status, I
> believe that is overused.
>> "Our main goal is to stop this invasion of privacy, prevent it from
>> occurring again and make sure AT&T and all the other carriers
>> understand there are going to be legal and economic consequences when
>> they fail to follow the law," said Kevin Bankston, an EFF staff
> Did the EFF sue all other carriers as well? Activist groups like to
> pick on the big guys, but that is not fair. If EFF has a true case
> against the carriers, it has a responsibility to sue every carrier.
>> The White House has vigorously defended the program, saying the
>> president acted legally under the constitution and a post-Sept. 11
>> congressional resolution that granted him broad power to fight
> I am not in a position to say if the White House was right or wrong in
> this action.
> However, it would appear that it is unfair to order the carriers to
> make that decision either. I can't help but wonder that the carriers
> received what appeared to be legitimate official wiretap requests and
> they complied accordingly. I'm pretty sure if some unknown Fed agent
> showed up with a wiretap demand without documentation he wouldn't get
> very far. However, I suspect this came through normal channels that
> the carriers were used to working with, and thus they had no reason to
> suspect there may have been a question on them.
>> "We are quite confident that discovery would reveal evidence proving
>> our allegations correct," said Kevin Bankston, an EFF staff attorney.
> That's very nice, but "discovery" is an expensive time consuming
> process. Who's gonna pay for AT&T's cost? We are!
>> "I think we are going to definitely have a fight on state-secret
>> issues," Bankston said. "I would also point out that the state-secret
>> privilege has never come up in a case where the rights of so many have
>> been at issue."
> Censorship of civilian activities was a major activity in WW II. Even
> back then it was not particularly appreciated, but it was done.
> As mentioned, I strongly believe in privacy and normally support EFF
> efforts. But I'm not so sure on this particular case and I wonder if
> it's grandstanding. I can think of a great many other privacy issues
> EFF ought to be concerned about, although they're not very glamorous
> or headline making.
> [public replies, please]
Tapping (e.g. carnivore, eshalon) will get the low lying fruit. Real
criminals will use strong encryption...