Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Can You Hear Me Now?

Hi guys-

I am contacting you because I got tipped off from other people from Stanford that you may be New York residents. I am working for the ACLU this summer, and we are looking for students to help us out on a case (regarding the telephone company record disclosures that have been in the news recently). We are looking for people who are New York residents but who have California residential phone lines (AT&T or Verizon). It would help if your name is actually on the phone bill. Anyway, if any of you fit this description and might be willing to help out, please let me know ASAP.

Thanks so much!

Random Classmate


Dear Random Classmate,

If you have a problem with Verizon or AT&T forwarding the call records to the NSA, please contact your Congressman and have him propose a bill to better protect the privacy of this information. In the midst of all this hooting and hollering, knee jerk liberals have failed to consider that what Bush is doing may actually be legal.

All the Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA) stipulates is that federal officials make only a cursory showing before a judge that the information is relevant to a criminal investigation. This is a relatively undemanding threshold to meet. But, it would be the best grounds to argue that the document production was illegal - and not the privacy issue. There is no constitutional protection for information divulged to a third party under the Supreme Court's expectation of privacy test - and the routing information for phone and internet communications divulged to phone companies amount to just that. "The absence or inapplicability of the statute would leave the routing information for those communications completely unprotected from government surveillance." Any remedy would be a purely civil one. In the eyes of the Courts, this just isn't constitutional.

Sincerely,
SLS2L

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