Feeds

US judge dismisses terror trawl lawsuit

Warrentless wiretapping furore drags on

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A US court has dismissed a lawsuit against AT&T brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleging that the telco handed over citizen's phone records to US spy agencies without adequate authorisiation. US District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly agreed with the government’s argument that the need to protect 'state secrets' necessitated dismissing the lawsuit.

"The court is persuaded that requiring AT&T to confirm or deny whether it has disclosed large quantities of telephone records to the federal government could give adversaries of this country valuable insight into the government's intelligence activities," Judge Kennelly ruled, AP reports.

The case, which sought class action status, was filed by the ACLU on behalf of Chicago author Studs Terkel and others who argued that their rights were violated when AT&T divulged the telephone records of its customers to the federal government. The practice of so-called warrantless wiretapping came to light after the New York Times reported that the president had authorised the National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept communications inside the US.

The ACLU has issued a statement criticising the court's decision. It argues that the role of analysing phone records in the NSA's controversial domestic surveillance program has already been widely discussed and therefore can longer be sensibly classified as a secret.

The ACLU's action is only one of several lawsuits launched in the wake of reports that AT&T and other telcos turned phone records over to the National Security Administration, the US government's signals intelligence agency. The NSA's "massive and illegal program" to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications remains the subject of an ongoing lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), for example.

In marked contrast to Kennelly's ruling on the ACLU suit, the judge considering the EFF lawsuit last week rejected government arguments that allowing the case to proceed might imperil state secrets. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.