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No Legal Protection for Telecoms

Posted Aug 6, 2007 11:32 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A new law authorizing the government to wiretap foreign terrorism suspects without a warrant does not contain a provision protecting telecommunications companies from liability.

The telecoms had sought protection from past suits that had claimed the companies violated customer privacy by cooperating with the government spying program, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. “The new law instead provides a more limited element of legal cover by compelling phone companies to cooperate,” the newspaper says.

The White House had supported the companies’ quest for legal protection, and has vowed to continue to do so in negotiations to replace the law when it expires in six months.

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