Aug 292007

Most Americans believe the records of who they call are confidential.? After all, what should it matter to anyone but the parties on the call and the business(es) doing the billing, right?

Well, the government thinks your phone records should remain secret as well.? But not in the way you think.? According to Wired Magazine, the Justice Department (the least aptly named bureaucracy ever)? will be asserting in Federal Court tomorrow that the records of who you call are not secret, but state secrets.? Of course, the question that surely won’t be asked in court tomorrow is how the private business dealings between a consumer and a private company can be a state secret when the state isn’t even aware of them until well after the fact.

This bizarre assertion is a result of five lawsuits filed by consumers against their telephone service providers.? It seems those service providers were making a habit of sending their calling records off to the National Security Agency rather than respecting their customer’s privacy.? The government intervened in the case to assert the “state secrets” privilege, saying the case involved national secrets and must be thrown out.

FULL DISCLOSURE:? Since it’s a class action suit and I used to be both an ATT and a Verizon customer (until I heard that they were handing over calling records to the NSA) I suppose I’m technically involved in this case.

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