Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen

More eavesdropping power on tap

Steve Henn Aug 6, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Over the weekend, President Bush signed a new wiretapping law. It gives the administration new powers to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mails between Americans and terrorism suspects overseas. But it didn’t give the President or phone companies everything they wanted. More now from Steve Henn.


Steve Henn: The new law compels U.S. phone companies to turn over their customer records when they’re presented with government intelligence requests.

It also protects the telecoms from lawsuits stemming from their cooperation in future spying programs.

But the bill leaves out language the White House wanted that would have given the telecoms legal immunity for participating in past spying programs never approved by Congress.

But Michelle Richardson at the ACLU argues that change would severely undercut the nation’s privacy laws.

Michelle Richardson: Telecom companies are going to have no incentive to keep your information private from now on if they know they can just turn to Congress to get a free pass.

The President’s already asked Congress to revisit the issue in September.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.