Gov't. May Help Telephone Companies Defend Suits Over Customer Records
The Wall St. Journal reports (free link) that the Government may help the phone companies defend the lawsuits brought over contracts to turn over customer records by asserting a states secret privilege:
The plaintiffs, who accuse Bell phone companies of privacy violations and are seeking billions of dollars in damages, would need to delve into the depths of the NSA's surveillance program to make their cases. But the government considers such information top secret, and legal experts expect the Bush administration to assert the "state secrets" privilege in the 20 or more lawsuits filed by privacy advocates in recent weeks. If judges accept the claim, as has been the case in nearly every instance in which it has been asserted since the early 1950s, the suits will dissolve.
According to one phone company lawyer:
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