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Judge Orders Telecommunications Companies to Preserve Evidence in Government Surveillance Cases

November 6, 2007

Judge Orders Telecommunications Companies to Preserve Evidence in Government Surveillance Cases

Ruling Advances EFF's Class-action Lawsuit Against AT&T

San Francisco - A federal judge today ruled on a preservation motion filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), ordering that telecommunications companies must preserve any evidence of collaborating with the government in illegal spying on ordinary Americans.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ordered the telecommunications companies to halt any routine destruction of documents or to arrange for the preservation of accurate copies. On December 14, each party must provide the court with confirmation that the court's order has been carried out. The court order did not require the government or the carriers to reveal whether or not they had any relevant evidence.

The government and the carriers had opposed the preservation motion, claiming that the government's invocation of the state secrets privilege made it impossible to proceed with a preservation order. In litigation, parties are typically required to preserve all relevant evidence.

For the judge's order:
http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/att/393%20order.pdf

For more on the class-action lawsuit against AT&T:
http://www.eff.org/cases/att

Contacts:

Kurt Opsahl
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
kurt@eff.org

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