Saturday, August 10, 2013

Verizon Handed Over AP Data, No Questions Asked

Earlier this year the government came under fire for hoovering up the personal call logs of more than twenty lines belonging to the Associated Press. Initially Uncle Same claimed the snooping and violation of press rights was due to an immediate and pressing life-risking investigation, but as the week rolled on it became clear the government was simply embarrassed by internal leaks and annoyed an AP story stole some public relations thunder. It has also since been made clear that Verizon Wireless was the company that handed over the data without a second thought:

When the feds came knocking for AP journalists’ call records last year, Verizon apparently turned the data over with no questions asked. The New York Times, citing an AP employee, reported Tuesday that at least two of the reporters’ personal cellphone records "were provided to the government by Verizon Wireless without any attempt to obtain permission to tell them so the reporters could ask a court to quash the subpoena."

I contacted Verizon Wireless for comment, querying whether the AP incident may prompt the company to change its policy regarding how it responds to such requests. Spokeswoman Debra Lewis said Verizon Wireless complied "with legal processes with regard to requests from law enforcement" but wouldn’t comment on specific cases. In regard to a change of policy, Lewis said she was “not going to speculate on what may or may not happen in the future."

Granted the law muzzles most of the people to whom these requests are made, but that doesn't mean that carriers have to be quite so mindlessly compliant every time government knocks. We've seen repeated instances where time after time, carriers showed absolutely no independent intelligence or ethics when considering whether to help the government break the law. Only small carriers, like, have bothered to show anything resembling a spine.

In fact, instead of standing up to government, carriers often urge government to take domestic surveillance further. Numerous whistleblowers have pointed out that carriers not only gave the NSA a live feed to ALL data on their networks (both theirs and other companies), but in some cases actively counseled the FBI on how to best violate surveillance law. As Wired noted in 2010, AT&T even volunteered their time as intelligence analysts.

There's tens of billions of unaccountable government subsidies, tax breaks and contracts at risk if these companies don't comply, which should give you a clear indication of just how much your privacy is worth to them when the government calls.

Read The Rest Here....

AP Scandal

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