Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Rewards Of 'Cooperation' With The NSA - Verizon Given Huge Federal Contract


Yes, selling out your customer's private information to the Feds can pay big dividends.

In a press release, Verizon announced that thecorporation had been selected for a huge new contract with the Department of the Interior:

The U.S. Department of the Interior has selected Verizon to participate in a $10 billion, 10-year contract to provide cloud and hosting services. This is potentially one of Verizon's largest federal cloud contracts to date.

Verizon is one of 10 companies that will compete to offer cloud-based storage, secure file transfer, virtual machine, and database, Web, and development and test environment hosting services. The company is also one of four selected to offer SAP application hosting services.

Each of the 10 agreements awarded under the Foundation Cloud Hosting Services contract has a potential maximum value of $1 billion.

According to a court order labeled "TOP SECRET,"  that was outed by Britain's  Guardian, federal judge Roger Vinson ordered Verizon to turn over the phone records of millions of its U.S. customers to the National Security Agency (NSA) in a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The order, issued in April by the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court  compels Verizon to provide these records on an “ongoing daily basis” and hand over to the NSA an electronic copy” of “all call detail records created by Verizon for communications (i) between the United States and abroad; or (ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls.”

That means the phone numbers involved, the electronic identity of the phone or computer used, any calling card numbers ) used in making the calls, and the time and duration of the call. So if you're a
Verizon customer, your detailed phone records were and will continue to be handed over to the  NSA .

To my knowledge, Verizon did not appeal the order or protest in any way .

The Fourth Amendment to the Cnstitution affirms  “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” and that “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The government isn't even bothering to make a pretense that any of the millions of records seized involves 'probable cause'. Or that anyone is committing any kind of crime. All they're doing is scooping up millions of digital records and storing them on the chance that  maybe, one day something suspicious might be found.

And given this president's use of the IRS, that something might very well be a declaration to run for office, an affiliation, or a bit of criticism the government doesn't like, what have you.

In fairness to Verizon, they're hardly the only ones doing this. All the telecom companies are, and as we see, the rewards for going along can be substantial.

 Nor is the FISA court, which was specifically designed to protect our liberties doing much to prevent this either. In 2012, the feds made  1,789 requests to th eFISA courts to  monitor the electronic communications of American citizens.The court approved every single one of them . 

Our Constituion? Just a piece of outdated paper to these boys.

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