House Passes Bill Protecting Telecom Companies from Surveillance Lawsuits

The House voted overwhelmingly on Friday to approve a new surveillance law to amend the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The majority 292 to 129 vote will further extend the government’s eavesdropping capabilities while shielding telecommunications companies from lawsuits as a result of cooperating with the Bush administration’s unwarranted wiretapping program. The bill will proceed to the Senate next week where it is expected to pass; putting to rest a yearlong battle with President Bush. AT&T, Verizon Communications and other telecommunications firms are currently facing more than 40 lawsuits for consumer privacy violations stemming from the governments post 9/11 communications spying programs. The new bill will offer the companies a legal course in their defense and further justify the governments’ defense measures.