September 29, 2009 | By Kevin Bankston

EFF Supports New Bill to Repeal Telco Immunity

Yesterday, four US Senators led by Senator Chris Dodd announced plans to introduce "The Retroactive Immunity Repeal Act". That bill, endorsed by EFF, would repeal the law that Congress passed last summer granting immunity to phone companies that illegally assist in domestic spying by US intelligence agencies, and would revive EFF’s recently dismissed lawsuit against AT&T for its collaboration in the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.

As yesterday’s announcement explains,

Over the last two years, Senators Dodd, Leahy, and Feingold have led the fight against granting retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies. However, last July, Congress passed FISA legislation that granted retroactive immunity over the objections of the Senators and others.

This bill seeks to reverse the mistake of the last Congress and repeal the retroactive immunity provisions. The Senators strongly believe that the courts, and neither Congress nor the Administration, should be the ones to determine whether these corporations violated the law and rights of Americans and whether or not they should be held accountable.

EFF thanks these Senators, along with fourth bill sponsor Senator Merkley, for their continuing work to maintain the rule of law and demand accountability from lawbreaking telcos.

Importantly, the bill announced today isn’t the only front in the battle to repeal telco immunity: the JUSTICE Act, Senator Feingold’s bill to reform the USA PATRIOT Act, also contains a provision that would repeal the immunity law. The Senate Judiciary Committee will be considering the reforms in that bill this Thursday, so visit our action center now to tell your Senator to reform the PATRIOT Act and repeal telco immunity!

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