Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Save US from the "Spineless" Telecoms

Eight days ago Congress held hearings in which they condemned Yahoo's CEO and top lawyer for their companies cooperation with the Chinese government's domestic spying activities. Representative Tom Lantos called Yahoo's actions "spineless and irresponsible." Yahoo has since settled a lawsuit brought on by the families of a blogger and a journalist, both of which have become political prisoners as a result of Yahoo's actions. Congress has spoken. There will be no forgiveness for companies that break the U.S. laws in order to comply with government spying activities.

Tomorrow, the senate will vote whether to hold several American phone/Internet companies accountable for helping the US government to spy on US citizens. For a little perspective, consider this: in the Yahoo-China case, Yahoo disclosed the names and private emails of two pro-democracy activists. According to retired AT&T technician Mark Klein, the NSA was getting "an exact copy of all... Internet traffic that flowed through critical AT&T cables - emails, documents, pictures, web browsing, voice-over Internet-phone conversations - everything... every second of every day." AT&T was making it possible for the NSA to data-mine the Internet activities of ordinary U.S. citizens, and all of this without a warrant. Let's hold our legislators to the precedent they set last Tuesday: call your senators and ask them to give their constituents as much protection from US company-enabled domestic spying as they gave to the citizens of China.


phil said...

Hell yeah. But the bastards'll never fall for it. It's one of those hypocritical things. "You better not support Communist Government spying, but you better not get in our way when we do it." They got that "Patriot" Act and all. Bastards.

John said...

Not necessarily, Phil. If the Democratic Party grows a spine it might turn out okay.

If things go the way they have been, however, all Bush will have to do is accuse them of being "weak on terror" and they'll cave. It's worked every time so far.