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4 December 2007 at 10:14:39 AM
You'd think anyone who remembered J. Edgar Hoover's FBI and Nixon's CIA, the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 -- let alone the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution -- might be concerned about the government illegally snooping on Americans. But executives at the nation's biggest telecoms -- AT&T, Verizon, and others -- didn't blink an eye when the National Security Agency came knocking. You want records of domestic phone calls? Sure, help yourself! Emails? Yeah, we got tons. They're yours!
Only following orders? What if the government told telecoms to use their technologies to spy on American bedrooms, or turn over our bank accounts, or our photographs, home videos, anything else we store on computers or transmit through cables or over the Internet? The "only following orders" excuse would make telecoms extensions of our spy agencies.
Corporate executives have a duty to disobey government orders when they have reason to believe those orders are illegal or unconstitutional -- and make the government go to court to get what it wants.
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