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In December of 2005, the New York Times reported that the government, in a secret program authorized by George W. Bush, was spying on Americans’ phone calls without court orders and without warrants.

Later reports, each more disturbing than the last, revealed that the NSA had gotten major phone companies, including AT&T, MCI and Sprint, to help them spy on Americans’ phone calls, compile a database of their customers’ phone records, and in AT&T’s case, data-mine their customers’ phone and internet activities.

The straw that broke the camel's back came in May of 2006, when USA Today reported that AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth had given their customers' phone records to the NSA to help the NSA build a massive database of innocent Americans' calling histories.

This sinister program violates FISA and telecommunications laws.

It goes against everything this country stands for.

And it is wrong!

Therefore, we need to all get away from the phone companies that allowed the government to do all of this and use companies that respect their customers' rights.

The Case Against AT&T

AT&T is letting the government spy on your phone calls and internet traffic.

In April of 2006, a whistleblower named Mark Klein came out and revealed that AT&T had allowed the NSA to build secret spy rooms and install data-mining equipment in their switching centers in several major cities, including San Francisco, to spy on and data-mine on all of AT&T customers' internet activities.

Wired.com released the evidence and full statement Mark Klein made about this for a lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T. The evidence gives details on how the program works, and reveals that it allows the NSA to spy on everything AT&T customers do on the internet.

Emails. Instant messaging. EVERYTHING.

Mark Klein isn't the only one blowing the whistle on this, though. More former AT&T employees have come out and said that AT&T had allowed a spy room to be built in a switching center in St. Louis.

AT&T doesn't really deny it

What's really sinister about this is that, although Verizon and BellSouth denied having cooperated with the government after USA Today's bombshell report, AT&T has neither confirmed or denied their involvement. For example:

AT&T would not respond when asked whether it participated. An AT&T spokesman, Dave Pacholczyk, said: "We don't comment on matters of national security."

Last week, Verizon said it had complied with relevant laws and was "committed" to customer privacy. San Antonio-based AT&T said it respects customers' privacy but has "an obligation to assist law enforcement and other government agencies responsible for protecting the public welfare."

In fact, AT&T rewrote their privacy policy to give them more leeway to violate their customers' privacy, and in the new policy for their AT&T Yahoo video services, they specifically say, among other things: "While your Account Information may be personal to you, these records constitute business records that are owned by AT&T."

They clearly don't care about their customers' privacy, and it's time to switch to companies that do.

The Case Against MCI & Verizon

Verizon bought out MCI

In January of 2006, MCI was merged with Verizon and turned into a new part of Verizon now called Verizon Business.

MCI participated in the warrantless wiretapping program

A month later, a USA Today report stated that major telephone companies, AT&T, MCI and Sprint, helped the government spy on Americans' phone calls. This was revealed in the report by major telephone company executives who wanted to be anonymous.

At the end of June 2006, a bunch of lawmakers even came out and said that AT&T and MCI had participated in the program and had gave their customers’ call records to the government.

Verizon doesn't really deny being connected to it

After the May 11th bombshell report, even though Verizon and BellSouth denied directly cooperating in the sinister domestic spying program, Verizon didn't confirm or deny having any relationship to the program. Even in Verizon's press statement talking about this, they only talk about companies they had before the MCI merger.

Apparently, Verizon knew what MCI was doing and what was really going on. Stay away from both of them.

The Case Against BellSouth

BellSouth is merging with AT&T

Bell South is closely connected to AT&T -- they both jointly own Cingular Wireless. Now, AT&T is trying to buy out BellSouth.

After the May 11th report, Bell South has vehemently denied participating in the NSA warrantless wiretapping program, and even demanded a retraction of USA Today's story about it. Yet despite that, and despite all of the evidence showing the horrible things AT&T has done, Bell South shareholders voted to merge with AT&T anyway.

The FCC won't do anything about it

The Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, has already said in a USA Today report that they won't investigate the NSA program because of the program's classified nature.

The ACLU filed a comment with the FCC, imploring them to not let cries of secrecy keep them from looking into this, but whether the FCC will listen to it or not is negligible.

Assuming BellSouth's denials are true, then it's very likely that at the end of the year, when the AT&T/BellSouth merger goes through, that BellSouth customers will end up getting spied on, too. BellSouth users: this is your cue to get away from that company like rats on a sinking ship.

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