Copps Calls for Telco Inquiry


Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, ranking member of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, has at least one FCC commissioner's support for an investigation into the telephone companies that voluntarily supplied phone records to the National Security Agency.

An initial report here incorrectly attributed the statement to fellow Democrat Jonathan Adelstein, who has not weighed in.
Markey wrote FCC Chairman Kevin Martin asking for the inquiry. No word from him yet, but Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps has voiced his support.

“Recent news reports suggest that some – but interestingly not all – of the nation’s largest telephone companies have provided the government with their customers’ calling records," said Copps in a statement.

"There is no doubt that protecting the security of the American people is our government’s number one responsibility. But in a Digital Age where collecting, distributing, and manipulating consumers’ personal information is as easy as a click of a button, the privacy of our citizens must still matter.

"To get to the bottom of this situation, the FCC should initiate an inquiry into whether the phone companies’ involvement violated Section 222 or any other provisions of the Communications Act. We need to be certain that the companies over which the FCC has public interest oversight have not gone – or been asked to go – to a place where they should not be.”

The government maintains it has not been collecting content from domestic calls, and that the information it has gotten was obtained legally. Verizon has said that it complied with the law as well, and that it would not make customer information available for a government "fishing expedition" into its records.