Verizon: Very Patriotic, Fans of 24

We do it because we hate terrorists and love you—and America!

Verizon Communications, the nation's second-largest telecom company, told congressional investigators that it has provided customers' telephone records to federal authorities in emergency cases without court orders hundreds of times since 2005.

The company said it does not determine the requests' legality or necessity because to do so would slow efforts to save lives in criminal investigations.
They used to operate on the Peter Principle. Now it's all Jack Bauer Principle all the time, bitchez.

Verizon also disclosed that the FBI, using administrative subpoenas, sought information identifying not just a person making a call, but all the people that customer called, as well as the people those people called. Verizon does not keep data on this "two-generation community of interest" for customers, but the request highlights the broad reach of the government's quest for data.

…From January 2005 to September 2007, Verizon provided data to federal authorities on an emergency basis 720 times, it said in the letter. The records included Internet protocol addresses as well as phone data. In that period, Verizon turned over information a total of 94,000 times to federal authorities armed with a subpoena or court order, the letter said. The information was used for a range of criminal investigations, including kidnapping and child-predator cases and counter-terrorism investigations.

Verizon and AT&T said it was not their role to second-guess the legitimacy of emergency government requests.
Of course not. Just like it's not my job to question a police officer who puts his gun in my hand and tells me to shoot a suspect, as long as he assures me there's a good reason.

Naturally, these disclosures have marked the return of the omnipresent National Security Letters, about which I've been bitching for over a year now, because NSLs are essentially the intelligence-gathering equivalent of the presidential signing statement—a stroke of the pen to magically turn dubiously ethical and formerly prohibited actions into perfectly legal maneuvers, with no legislation, no oversight, and no knowledge of the American people required.

Yesterday's 13-page Verizon letter indicated that the requests went further than previously known. Verizon said it had received FBI administrative subpoenas, called national security letters, requesting data that would "identify a calling circle" for subscribers' telephone numbers, including people contacted by the people contacted by the subscriber. Verizon said it does not keep such information.
But if they did—you know the FBI would have gotten their grubby little hands on it, no problemo! Because great American patriots always do as they're told and never question authority.

"Keeping playing cards."

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