Thursday, June 15, 2006

The government is creepy

New Jersey has filed subpoenas to telephone service providers to try and discover if they violated New Jersey consumer protection acts when they disclosed thousands of phone records to the NSA. The federal government, however, has filed a lawsuit to block these subpoenas.
Check out this quote from the Times:
"Compliance with the subpoenas issued by those officers would first place the carriers in a position of having to confirm or deny the existence of information that cannot be confirmed or denied without causing exceptionally grave harm to national security," wrote Irene Dowdy, an assistant United States Attorney, in the 14-page lawsuit. "And if particular carriers are indeed supplying foreign intelligence information to the Federal Government, compliance with the subpoenas would require disclosure of the details of that activity."

I cannot imagine what sort of "grave harm" it would do to national security for the public to know exactly what data was given to the government, and under what circumstances. Given all of the publicity that has surrounded this, if I were a terrorist, I would have to assume at this point that the NSA has all of the data that is available about all of my electronic communications. What seems to be at issue now is whether the NSA did this legally. Perhaps the grave harm that will be done if the truth is revealed is that the government will be forced to abide by its own laws? If this is the case, the correct course of action should be to change the laws, not prevent state investigations into violations of those laws...

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