Archive: The Case Against Retroactive Amnesty for Telecoms
For more than five years, AT&T and other telephone companies broke the law and violated their customers' privacy rights by sending billions of private domestic internet and telephone communications and records to the National Security Agency. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is co-lead counsel in the pending lawsuits against these companies.
On July 9 2008, Congress passed The FISA Amendments Act Of 2008, which was intended to dismiss these lawsuits. Today, EFF is working to challenge this law and hold telcos accountable for their illegal behavior.
This page archives documents used by EFF to lobby Congress against telecom immunity in 2007 and 2008.
- Reporting from every major American media outlet and undisputed whistleblower evidence show that AT&T and other phone companies were complicit in the NSA's warrantless surveillance. This included the records and full content of the private domestic communications of millions of ordinary Americans. The President and the phone companies hid this information from Congress and the American people for at least six years.
- These actions violated at least four major privacy laws that have protected Americans' privacy for over 30 years. The laws deliberately and specifically require telephone companies to safeguard the privacy of their customers communications, especially when the government seeks to access them. The violation of these laws is at the core of almost forty pending lawsuits against AT&T, Verizon, MCI, Sprint and other telephone companies. These lawsuits have been consolidated before Judge Vaughn Walker in California.
- Now, the phone companies and the Bush administration are trying to bar Americans from defending their privacy. Their arguments in favor of retroactive immunity are manipulative, illogical and simply unconvincing.
- The American people deserve their day in court. Companies that break the law deserve to be held accountable. Oppose retroactive amnesty for telecommunications companies.
- Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston's StatementPDFFrom EFF's June 18 2008 press conference.
- Letter to Congress from Chairman John DingellPDF"By tying the question of lawsuit immunity to questions of national security and FISA reform legislation, the President has created a false choice for Congress..."
- The Telephone Companies Aren't "Heroes"PDFAmnesty proponents call the telephone companies who ignored Congress “heroes.” Here are the facts...
- Three Keys: The Compelling Case against Blanket Retroactive Telephone Company AmnestyPDFAs Congress enters the final stages of considering legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the EFF urges all Members to consider the following three critical points...
- How AT&T secretly funneled billions of communications to the NSAPDFSummary of AT&T’s role in dragnet surveillance of millions of its customers.
- Editorial and Opinion pages across the nation oppose retroactive amnesty for phone companiesThis page summarizes dozens of editorials from major US newspapers.
- Legal Document ArchiveLegal documents related to EFF's pending class action lawsuit.
- EFF NSA GraphicsImages and graphics related to NSA spying and telecom immunity.
- Freeze: Congress Can and Should Take Time to Consider the Complex Issues Arising from the Carriers’ Demand for AmnestyPDF
- One-pager: CapsPDFIf telephone company liability is to be "capped," damages must be fair to plaintiffs and proportionate to defendants' resources in order to assure FISA’s future "Exclusivity."
- One-pager: Courts and States SecretsPDFNo national security information has ever leaked from federal courts in more than 50 years of FISA and States Secrets cases; Congress can trust them fully in the pending cases.
- One-pager: FISA ModernizationPDFWhy lawmakers should reject retroactive amnesty for telephone company violation of millions of Americans’ privacy rights.
- One-pager: Mark Klein, AT&T WhistleblowerPDFMark Klein is a former AT&T telecommunications technician who has come forward to provide evidence of the company’s illegal collaboration with the NSA.
- One-pager: Multi-District LegislationPDFWhile the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) is complex, EFF’s records indicate that there are currently 46 cases pending in the MDL overall, with a range of legal theories, plaintiffs and defendants.
- One-pager: Statement from Brian ReidPDFBrian Reid is currently the Director of Engineering and Technical Operations at Internet Systems Consortium, a non-profit organization devoted to supporting a non-proprietary Internet.
- One-pager: The Telecoms Knowingly and Intentionally Violated at Least 4 Statutes That Require Telcoms to Protect Customer PrivacyPDFFour statutory causes of action Congress created to hold telecoms accountable for illegal surveillance play a crucial role in providing a judicial forum for warrantless surveillance: FISA, the Wiretap Act, The Communications Act, and the Stored Communications Act.
- One-pager: Telephone Companies Have Ample Resources to Fully Defend ThemselvesPDF, 127.19 KBPhone companies argue that litigation would be a "crushing burden". Whether viewed from the perspective of telephone companies’ human or financial resources, this argument is completely unsupportable.
- Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston's StatementPDF