Thursday, May 18, 2006

Judge issues split decision in AT&T privacy lawsuit

My question revolves around this:
He [U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker] ordered the Electronic Frontier Foundation and its consultants not to give the documents to anyone pending further court review. He will hear arguments June 23 by AT&T and the Justice Department to dismiss the case.

The Justice Department, which filed a motion Saturday seeking to classify the documents as military secrets, also sought to keep the papers sealed.
Classify the documents as military secrets? Information that passes through AT&T's servers and switchboards 24/7/365 is a military secret? Tracking American's phone calls and emails without warrents? This is beyond keeping a database of phone numbers. And how "classified" should this information be if an AT&T service technician can access it? A person would think that if this information was so vital to national security, the government would have deemed it classified ages before a service technician could get his hands on it.

CNET News looks a little deeper into the legal issues at hand with the tech company. This certification letter from AShcroft is interesting, but if it exsists, why wouldn't AT&T just play that card and everything would be in the clear? Maybe their customers wouldn't be too happy about that. I wouldn't be happy if I was one of their customers.

More from the San Francisco Chronicle.
"AT&T contends that Klein's documents contain trade secrets that could help a hacker, a competitor or even a terrorist, and asked Walker to order Klein and the plaintiffs to return their copies. Although Klein isn't a party to the case, he is a potential witness who signed a confidentiality agreement with AT&T while he worked there. That means the judge has the power to control his conduct to keep the material secret and preserve the company's property rights, argued David Anderson, a lawyer for AT&T."
So the EFF gets to hold onto the documents for now. I'm curious how far a confidentiality agreement goes when it deals with one of the parties breaking laws. I'm also curious what kind of "trade secrets" are involved in spying on your customers' phone conversations and emails. And it's intersting how this case is being kept seperate from the story about the NSA keeping a database of millions of Americans phone calls.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home