A class action lawsuit filed Tuesday in San Francisco’s federal district court claims that AT&T illegally cooperated with the National Security Agency’s (NSA) eavesdropping program, CNET News.com reports.
The suit alleges that AT&T gave the NSA access to its telecommunications facilities “to assist the government in its secret surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the digital privacy rights watchdog group that filed the suit, says that AT&T’s cooperation violates a number of privacy rights within the U.S. Constitution. The EFF also claims that AT&T violated federal wiretap laws banning such surveillance “except as authorized by statute.”
Kevin Bankston, an EFF staff attorney, thinks the Bush Administration will intervene on the behalf of AT&T. “We are definitely going to have a fight with the government and AT&T,” he said.
Yesterday, AT&T said that it had not had enough time to review the complaint and would not comment.
Should the Bush Administration get involved, it’s not going to be an easy win for the EFF. The “state secrets” doctrine, which allows the government to dismiss any lawsuit that may lead to a leakage of military secrets, could immediately close the door on EFF.
If it so chooses, AT&T may file a response within 30 days.
On Monday, the FCC said that is considering fining AT&T $100,000 for not providing proper safeguards for its customer call records. For more, read FCC May Fine AT&T, Alltel.