AT&T, Verizon Readily Break their Own Rules

May 12, 2006

Vic Schachter, chairman of Fenwick & West's privacy and information security group, was recently quoted in a San Francisco Chronicle column entitled, "AT&T, Verizon readily break their own rules."

San Francisco's Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against AT&T claiming the company violated U.S. law when it provided records of customer phone calls as requested by the National Security Agency. In response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President Bush authorized a domestic call-tracking program to monitor the international calls and emails of people suspected to have links to terrorists.

AT&T, Verizon and Bell South complied with the government's request, but may have violated their own customer privacy policies in doing so, Schachter explained.

"If a jury ever got hold of this case, they would be very skeptical about a company's right to disclose this information," he said.

Both AT&T and Verizon deny any wrongdoing.

Read the complete article by San Francisco Chronicle columnist David Lazarus.