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More eavesdropping power on tap

Steve Henn Aug 6, 2007


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.

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