4,000 New Yorkers Call on Officials to Investigate Phone Companies' Privacy Violations

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
June 26, 2006 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu

org

NEW YORK — On behalf of more than 4,000 New Yorkers, the New York Civil

Liberties Union has again called upon Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and the

Consumer Protection Board to investigate allegations that AT&T and Verizon

have improperly shared telephone records of New York residents with the National

Security Agency.

“The FCC has refused to exercise its authority to investigate this violation

of privacy, and Congress has failed to demand answers,” said Donna Lieberman,

NYCLU Executive Director. “Even the New York Public Services Commission, which

is directly responsible for regulating telecommunications companies, has refused

to investigate, claiming that it has no jurisdiction over consumer privacy

issues. Now 4,033 more New Yorkers have added their names to a second request

urging Spitzer and the Consumer Protection Board to take action and vindicate

our rights.”

According to reports in USA Today, at least three major telecommunications

companies — AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon — voluntarily provided customer

information to the NSA. The information gathered includes telephone numbers

called, time, date and direction of calls.

On May 23 the FCC announced that it would not pursue complaints about the

phone companies’ alleged collusion with the NSA. In a letter sent the next day,

the NYCLU and its 48,000 members demanded that the New York Department of Public

Service initiate a state-level investigation. But the NYCLU received a response

from the department on June 14 stating that it refused to initiate an

investigation.

In the past two weeks, 4,033 additional New York

residents have signed on to the NYCLU’s latest request for an investigation.

ACLU affiliates in 19 other states have filed similar complaints with Public

Utility Commissions or sent letters to state officials demanding investigations

into whether local telecommunications companies allowed the NSA to spy on their

customers.

For more information on the ACLU’s nationwide campaign to end

illegal NSA spying, go to www­.aclu.org/nsaspying.

The NYCLU’s

initial letter to the DPS and its new letter to Spitzer and the CPB are

available at www­.nyclu.org/pdfs/nsa_wiretap_letter_052406.pdf

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release