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EFF Speaks Out Against Telecom Immunity Deal

PRESS RELEASE
June 18, 2008
Proposal in Congress Would Let Telecoms Off the Hook for Illegal Spying

Washington, D.C. - Congress is widely reported to have struck a deal on legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that includes immunity for telecommunications companies that helped the government illegally spy on millions of ordinary Americans. Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) held a press conference with the ACLU to emphasize that this much-touted "compromise" is a sham aimed at letting both the government and the telecoms off the hook for violating the law and the Constitution.

"Whatever gloss might be put on it, the so-called 'compromise' on immunity is anything but: the current proposal is the exact same blanket immunity that the Senate passed in February and that the House rejected in March, only with a few new bells and whistles so that political spinsters can claim that it actually provides meaningful court review," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "We call on all members of Congress to reject this sham compromise and maintain the rule of law, rather than deprive the millions of ordinary Americans whose privacy rights were violated of their day in court."

EFF is representing the plaintiffs in Hepting v. AT&T, a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of the millions of AT&T customers whose private domestic communications and communications records were illegally handed over to the National Security Agency (NSA). EFF has been appointed co-coordinating counsel for all 47 of the outstanding lawsuits concerning the government's warrantless surveillance program.

For Kevin Bankston's complete statement on the FISA deal from today's press conference:
http://www.eff.org/files/filenode/EFF_bankston.pdf

Contacts:

Kevin Bankston
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
bankston@eff.org

Rebecca Jeschke
Media Coordinator
Electronic Frontier Foundation
press@eff.org

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