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There seems to be some interest to discuss this topic in Telecom News. Please keep it as non-political as possible, this is not a debate on which party is better than another. It's about whether or not the Teleco's should be granted protection from law suites do to the wire taps.


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My statement: I feel they did as was asked of them by the government in a time of crises, so should be immune from lawsuits.


The following was posted by Lightninghorse in the Telecom News category:

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Although I see your point, Bill, a warrantless search IS a warrantless search. This is an example of 'The Slippery Slope' or "The Nose Of The Camel".
And, the Feds should at least have the integrity to step up and assist in the defense of the telcos. And I don't mean getting the case dismissed!
There is already a method in place to rush thru 'tap requests', that is being used as we speak. And I have no objection to 'tapping' incoming AND outgoing INTERNATIONAL calls that have an out-of-country 'bad guy' in the conversation. But, some will say, justifiably, "The Slippery Slope Again". John C. (Not Garand)


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I feel that what they are doing is illegal and unjust and they should not be shielded from lawsuits. Domestic spying is stepping stone to government tyranny and has nothing to do with catching 'terrorists.' That is all I can say without getting 'political' on a non-political forum. Google 'Zeitgeist movie part 2' if you are interested in deeper research.

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Who's doing illegal stuff? The government or the Phone companies?

I think that's the point. They were asked because of the situation and did as asked. On the other hand others were asked and said no.

I think the question as to what's legal and illegal has to be answered by the courts. Still how do you punish someone who is doing as asked by their government in a time of crises? I don't see this as a black and white issue.


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I happen to agree with Bill on this. In the aftermath of 9/11, it was in a sense a "time of war" even though it had not been actually declared.

In Canada, during the FLQ crisis, when terrorists had kidnapped a British embassador, & in turn without getting their demands met, kidnapped & murdered a Quebec politician, it was essensially a terrorist attack

This led to the Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre E. Trudeau, to have the b*lls enough to invoke the "War Messures Act" which gave the police wide spread powers to deal with terrorists or suspected terrorists. These measures temporarily bypassed the current laws and freedoms, much the same as after Pearl Harbor in the US.

Right or wrong, is really irrevavent AT THE TIME. Security of one's nation should & must be a top priority in a time of crisis. In either of these cases, did the government go too far? I guess that would depend on which side of the fence you're sitting.

Sometimes, people get all in a huff about the police tapping their line. Hey, if you're not doing anything illegal, why worry? If the cops want to listen to me talking to Aunt Mary about her strawberry preserves, let them.

Dave


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And listening to you talk to your Aunt Mary about her strawberry preserves is the governments' business? Once again, "The Slippery Slope".

But, I do agree in principle with your first 4 paragraphs. It's setting the limit point, "Aye Laddie, That's The Rub". smile John C. (Not Garand)


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Let's face it, most of these "spys" are sitting around with their thumb stuck somewhere. They're not really listening unless some word or phrase catches their attention.

Do I care if they copy Aunt Mary's recipe for their own use...Not.

I see your point and I do expect a certain amount of privacy, but if I was to be doing something illegal, I would expect to get caught at some point in time. The methods doesn't matter.

Although I am Canadian, IMHO my hat's off to the telcos for abiding Uncle Sam's requests to help protect the US (& therefore Canada as well). After all it was a signed Presidential order. Fight the legalities later if need be. I'd rather sleep better knowing or unknowing that our "security forces" were making it safe to do so.

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We need an updated pic from that one that showed the oolldd guy in the flight helmet, "Sleep tight, your Air Force is awake tonight" Show him with super duper high-tech headphones and some giant tape recorder, "Sleep tight, Homeland Security is awake tonight". smile John C. (Not Garand)


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When folks get pulled over by the cops, and for whatever reason the cop decides he'd like to search their car, he can politely ask permission to do so. The citizen is allowed to refuse. At which point the cop will bully the citizen into submitting, by reminding him that if the cop so desires, the car may be towed to the station, and the owner detained until a warrant can be obtained. Usually, the citizen will just let them do it, to save the time and hassle, especially if they've got nothing to hide.

In this case, the government has this broad legislation that allows them to bypass the warrant, but the phone company still has the right to refuse until a warrant is obtained. All the government has to do is threaten to revoke their license to operate or something, and suddenly the phone company bows down and lets them in. This sets the precedent for future violations, where the company, knowing the consequences they were threatened with previously, doesn't put up a fight the next time.

These "emergency powers" make perfect sense to the general populace, as it's in the name of "security". But all it does is "secure" our goverment's right to revoke our rights. One step at a time, each and every right we should have has been or will be revoked, in the name of "security".

One only has to think of all the democracies that have fallen in history - Rome, Germany, the Star Wars Galactic Republic.... Each one of them fell, when their leaders convinced the population that they needed "emergency powers" to "solve" the "security" problems they faced at the time.

The one key point in the article, was that government wants to prevent the suits, because the process of the lawsuits may reveal too much in the public record. Another recent lawsuit against the government itself, revealed that the government admitted to wiretapping an individual, but the case was dismissed because the individual couldn't prove it, because the tapes were classified Top Secret. Sure, the phone companies get out of the lawsuits, which may be financially damaging, but the government is willing to go along, because it would be extremely embarassing to reveal that they themselves are in the wrong. That's the clincher - it practically implicates the government admitting it did wrong. If the government felt it was in the right, they shouldn't feel they have anything to hide!


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Some interesting points Rob. Some of the phone companies did refuse, it's been awhile but I'm pretty sure Qwest, SBC and Bellsouth all refused. I do think more pressure was put on the then AT&T and Verizon because of their long distance trunks. Of course we'll never know if they tried to say no. I still don't feel the phone companies should be held liable for doing something they were asked to do by the government in the situation we were in.


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