Questions for Telecoms Re. Blurry Lines

On Thursday, Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Ted Kennedy (D-WI) sent a forceful signal to telecommunications companies, amid growing furor over their assistance of the NSA in its efforts to spy on communications.

In their letter to the chief executives of AT&T, Sprint and Nextel (PDF), the Senators seek to determine who, if anyone, in the government requested the companies' assistance and what the substance of those discussions were. They have asked for answers to their questions by February 17.

It is important that the Senators get answers. Especially when the telecommunications companies appear to have facilitated the government's efforts. It will be interesting -- and hopefully still possible -- to discern where government ends and these businesses begin when government is forcing these companies to perform a quasi-governmental role.

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