The telecom giant faces two suits–one for $20 billion, another for $5 billion–for handing over customers’ phone records to the NSA.

The New Standard:

Upping the ante in what may be a high-stakes legal battle, an Upstate New York lawyer filed a $20 billion class-action lawsuit against Verizon last week, charging that the company violated customer confidentiality in aiding warrantless eavesdropping by a federal spy agency.

The civil suit is the second to challenge corporations for helping the National Security Agency carry out a secret order by the president to spy on communications between people in the United States and parties overseas without first obtaining warrants.

The New York Times first revealed the existence of the NSA surveillance program in December. The Bush administration continues to defend it as a necessary and permissible tool in the “war on terror,” but most legal scholars who have addressed the matter disagree with the administration?s interpretation of executive privileges.



TRENTON, N.J. – Two New Jersey public interest lawyers sued Verizon Communications Inc. for $5 billion Friday, claiming the phone carrier violated privacy laws by turning over phone records to the National Security Agency for a secret government surveillance program.

Attorneys Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer filed the lawsuit Friday afternoon in federal district court in Manhattan, where Verizon is headquartered.

The lawsuit asks the court to stop Verizon from turning over any more records to the NSA without a warrant or consent of the subscriber.


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