Monday, May 22, 2006

FCC Declines to Investigate Consumer Privacy and NSA Program

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has declined a request to open an investigation into reports of the disclosure by the nation's largest telecommunications carriers, AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth, of private consumer information from millions of Americans to the National Security Agency (NSA).

The request to open an investigation was made by Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

In his response to Rep. Markey, FCC Chairman Martin states: "The representations of Director Negroponte and General Alexander make clear that it would not be possible for us to investigate the activities addressed in your letter without examining highly sensitive classified information."

Rep. Markey expressed concern at the Commission's lack of willingness to investigate this issue, made the following statement:

"Today the watchdog agency that oversees the country's telecommunications industry refused to investigate the nation's largest phone companies' reported disclosure of phone records to the NSA. The FCC, which oversees the protection of consumer privacy under the Communications Act of 1934, has taken a pass at investigating what is estimated to be the nation's largest violation of consumer privacy ever to occur. If the oversight body that monitors our nation's communications is stepping aside then Congress must step in."

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