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Federal Judge Refuses to Throw Out Internet Privacy Lawsuit


21/07/2006

U.S. federal judge, Vaughn Walker, has refused the government’s request to dismiss a well-publicized lawsuit concering the National Security Agency`s unauthorized wiretapping program.

The lawsuit was initiated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, on behalf of all AT&T telephone customers, and seeks damages for the telecom giant`s role in the illegal spying program. Government authorities claimed that the case could result in the disclosure of national security secrets, and should be thrown out of court.

Walker, however, recognized refused to bow to this underhanded tactic, saying that government wiretapping was “hardly a secret” and that it was the court`s constitutional duty to hear all cases brought before it.

“To defer to a blanket assertion of secrecy here would be to abdicate that duty, particularly because the very subject matter of this litigation has been so publicly aired,” Walker explained in his ruling. “The compromise between liberty and security remains a difficult one. But dismissing this case at the outset would sacrifice liberty for no apparent enhancement of security.”

EFF lawyer, Robert Fram, expressed satisfaction with the ruling, commenting that “Judge Walker clearly took seriously his responsibility to take a hard look at alleged violations of civil liberties.”

Walker apparently agreed with the view that “there doesn’t seem to be any benefit to national security to trying to suppress something that the whole world already knows,” Fram went on to say.



 

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