Monday, September 24, 2007

Telecoms Launch Secret Lobbying Campaign For Immunity On Illegal Spying

Most Americans are now aware that the government - with the willing participation of the telecom industry - has been illegally wiretapping tens of thousands of Americans without their knowledge or consent. Unfortunately, it gets worse. Newseek has just uncovered a secret lobbying campaign by the telecom industry designed to persuade congress to give them complete immunity for their breach of the public trust. When government and big business collude to invade our privacy and subvert the constitution, it's not an exaggeration to assert that our democracy itself is being fundamentally threatened. If successful, this would effectively kill the current private lawsuits filed against the companies that participated in the governments illegal program.

From Newsweek:

The nation’s biggest telecommunications companies, working closely with the White House, have mounted a secretive lobbying campaign to get Congress to quickly approve a measure wiping out all private lawsuits against them for assisting the U.S. intelligence community’s warrantless surveillance programs.

The campaign—which involves some of Washington’s most prominent lobbying and law firms—has taken on new urgency in recent weeks because of fears that a U.S. appellate court in San Francisco is poised to rule that the lawsuits should be allowed to proceed.

If that happens, the telecom companies say, they may be forced to terminate their cooperation with the U.S. intelligence community—or risk potentially crippling damage awards for allegedly turning over personal information about their customers to the government without a judicial warrant.

It will take some courage from members of the house and senate to stand up to this assault on our privacy. Please contact your representatives in the House and Senate and let them know how you feel.

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