Senate: ‘When America Calls, We Answer (Its Phone).’
The U.S. Senate passed a bill that expands the government’s eavesdropping capabilities and grants immunity to any telephone company that lets government officials listen in on your phone calls. The bill stands in direct opposition to the Fourth Amendment, which protects American citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.
The passage of the bill is troubling when one realizes the extent of the information that the government can obtain without a warrant. The loss of privacy is evident from a current court case in which the U.S. government utilized a telephone company to get personal information about its citizens.
On Jan. 31, 2006, the non-profit organization Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T for collaborating with the National Security Agency in a case known as Hepting v. AT&T. In AT&T’s agreement with the NSA, the telephone company provided detailed information about its customers, including dialed telephone numbers and visited Internet addresses.
Keep in mind that these were not card-carrying members of al- Qaeda, but run-of-the-mill American citizens. Originally, the class-action lawsuit sought $22,000 in damages for the customers