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Congressional report indicates phone companies may be liable over call records

RAW STORY
Published: Thursday May 18, 2006

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Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) today released the attached report by the Congressional Research Service concerning the NSA's monitoring of phone call records of millions of U.S. citizens, RAW STORY has learned.

In the report, CRS identified the various statutes that would apply to the matter, concluding that these laws may "expose the telephone companies to some civil remedies or criminal sanctions."

"In addition," the report notes, "a request not founded upon a statutory scheme would appear to lack a means of compelling production of the information requested."

Conyers explains that the "Report suggests that in providing the NSA with millions of phone records of innocent Americans, the telephone service providers violated a number of Federal statutes including the Communications Act of 1934 and 18 U.S.C. 2701 governing access to stored electronic communications and transactional records. In addition, the NSA may well be in violation of both FISA and related federal laws governing trap and trace devices."

"Given this analysis," the Congressman concludes, "it is clear that we as a congress need to step up and investigate these very serious charges."

A copy of the report is available here.