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FCC Takes a Pass on NSA Privacy Probe

The Federal Communications Commission will not pursue an investigation of telecoms cooperation with the National Security Agencys wiretapping activities. According to Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, in Washington, such a probe would "pose an unnecessary risk of damage to national security."

In a related action involving the controversy, the Electric Frontier Foundation, based in San Francisco, announced on Oct. 5 it had hired two veteran Washington lobbyists to try to block amnesty for telecoms collaborating with the NSAs warrantless spying activities. The EFF is lead counsel in Hepting v. AT&T, one of many lawsuits aiming to hold telecommunications companies accountable for allegedly violating their customers privacy rights.

On Sept. 27, the EFF filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, demanding any records of a telecom industry lobbying campaign to block lawsuits over their compliance with illegal electronic surveillance.

"The White House is publicly calling for immunity for the telecoms, while a recent Newsweek article detailed a secretive lobbying campaign to block the lawsuits," Marcia Hofmann, an EFF attorney, said in a statement. "If there are back room deals going on at the Department of Justice, then Americans need to know about them now, before Congress passes any law that gets the telecom companies off the hook."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007
eWeek.com

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