Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hang Up The Phone!

The Forum received the following letter by email. Though particularly pertinent to those in the US, about half our Forum contacts are from there, and its content with links intact is posted here primarily for their benefit. For the rest of us, it shows something about the sort of democracy the land of the fleece would foist upon us (Ed: "fleece" used in sense of "to deprive of money or belongings by fraud, hoax, or the like; swindle", while standing to halt that "...or the like" by whatever means available wherever we are).

Dear Friend,

Phone companies are voluntarily turning over millions of customer records to the National Security Agency.

Acting without a court order or the knowledge or consent of their customers, phone companies are providing the government with potentially intimate details about who you know and who you talk to - details that are stored in giant databases, and perhaps mined by the NSA's supercomputers to scan through each of our associations and interests for "suspicious" signs, whatever that may be.

This is illegal and un-American. (Ed: last word taken as internal view of one who must not see the place as does the rest of the world) Act now to protect your privacy.

In May 2006, USA Today revealed that since shortly after 9/11 at least two major phone companies - AT&T and Verizon - have been voluntarily granting the NSA direct, mass access to their customers' calling records, and that the NSA had compiled a giant database of those records. This program extends to all Americans, not just those suspected of terrorist or criminal activity.

The goal of this program, according to media reports, is to "create a database of every call ever made within the nation's borders." This information can easily be linked to determine your identity, your friends, and your interests.

That's why the ACLU is supporting an effort by AT&T and Verizon shareholders to force the companies to disclose how they handle customers' personal information, any legal issues with assisting in government spying and how much the companies have spent addressing the spying scandal. Act now to protect your privacy.

Both telecommunications companies are attempting to obstruct discussion of this issue by appealing to the Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to block the proposed shareholder resolutions.

Act now to stop AT&T and Verizon from abusing your privacy.

As owners of publicly traded corporations, shareholders have a right to vote on issues they feel are vital to preserve their company’s reputation and protect the long-term value of investments and maintain customer privacy. AT&T and Verizon customers, board members and shareholders must be aware of all the issues inherent in assisting the government with its spying.

If you are a shareholder of these companies, a customer, or a concerned citizen, your voice matters to hold AT&T and Verizon accountable and to protect you privacy. So please take action today to protect your privacy.


Anthony D. Romero
Executive Director

And, in the letter's side bar, there was this:

Get Involved: Help End Unchecked NSA Spying

>> With the help of phone companies, the NSA is tapping phones and reading email without a warrant.

Make your voice heard now, and stop warrantless spying by the phone companies.

>> ACLU activists in dozens of states are calling for oversight by the local utility commissions who regulate the phone companies. See what’s happening in your state and around the country.

>> On January 31, the ACLU urged the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to exercise its proper authority, uphold our initial ACLU v. NSA victory, and require the president to shut down his program of unchecked NSA wiretapping. Learn more about ACLU v. NSA.

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