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To Qwest or Not to Qwest

AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth, Cingular (owned by AT&T and BellSouth), and MCI (owned by Verizon) all handed over phone records to the NSA without requiring any warrants or authorization of any kind. This is beyond the "international calls only" wiretaps the agency took heat for earlier. This is data mining. They're collecting data on every phone call made (domestic and international) by everyone, what number called what number and how often. Everyone. That would include you. Do you feel safer now?

When asked about their data mining, the NSA (and the White House) say they can't comment on anything that may or may not be occurring that may or may not be legal and may or may not be done with the complete approval of the Administration.

In the article, it says that one telecom giant has held out. Qwest Communications. They and their lawyers didn't feel comfortable with handing over that information to the NSA without some kind of warrant or written authorization from FISA or the Attorney General's office. The NSA said they couldn't ask FISA because FISA might not approve it. That's almost too logical for my brain.

Now, my first reaction is that i would soon be giving my patronage to a new phone company. I wasn't alone in that sentiment, either. However, knowing Qwest is a huge telecommunications company, they were bound to have a few skeletons in their closet. Fnord12 pointed out a few to me today. First off, their CEO is against net neutrality.

The CEO of Qwest had to know he wasn't preaching to the choir when he told a crowd at a VoIP convention in San Jose, California, last week that so-called neutrality is a dream, and charging customers more money for more bandwidth is the future.

It was a hard line to take with a roomful of entrepreneurs and techies, many of whose startup dreams hinge, at least in part, on the idea that their Internet traffic will move through the system at the same cost as everyone else's. "If you have enough money, we can make a lot of things happen," said Mr. Notebaert, referring to customers such as Internet portals, startups, and content providers that would be willing to pay for more bandwidth.

Notebaert calls it the future. I call it bribery. I wonder if those people left that convention feel just a little bit dirty.

Second, their former CEO was indicted for insider trading back in December. Sure, he's gone now, but who's to say they got rid of all the rotten apples over there? And they're a giant telecommunications firm which automatically generates distrust.

So it comes down to which phone company is slightly less disgusting. Either that or i get rid of my phone and my DSL. You guys would have to start communicating with us via smoke signals and snail mail. Grim prospects indeed.

By min | May 12, 2006, 12:47 PM | Liberal Outrage


oh yeah it would just be terrible if we had to disconnect our phones.