Congress Asks AT&T, Verizon, And Qwest About Warrantless Wiretapping

Qwest, Verizon, and AT&T have until October 12th to provide information on how the government went about asking for private customer records, and how the three companies provided the information. The Committee on Energy and Commerce opened an official investigation Tuesday. “If reports about the government surveillance program are accurate, Congress has a duty to inquire about whether such a program violates the Constitution, as well as consumer protection and privacy laws,” said committee chairman Rep. John Dingell.

The committee also sent letters to the EFF and other privacy advocacy groups, soliciting their opinions on the matter. In the official announcement, committee member Rep. Ed Markey is quoted,

“As reports about government intelligence agencies running roughshod over telecommunications privacy laws continue to surface, I have grown more and more concerned that the rights of consumers are being lost in the shuffle. Protecting the homeland is vital, but such efforts should not undermine the essential privacy rights of American citizens. Since the Bush Administration has been unwilling to discuss adequately this situation, I hope these telecommunications companies will be more forthcoming about the circumstances in which they have disclosed consumer information.”

The three companies have also been requested to provide information on whether or not the government attempted to install any equipment to intercept data, or whether any subpoenas were presented authorizing such equipment.

“AT&T and others asked about government access” [Reuters]

“Committee Opens Investigation into Warrantless Wiretapping”
(Photo: Getty)