For some time, many have alleged that the Patriot Act violated the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which prevents phone companies from handing out personal information. This week, a judge struck down that part of the Patriot Act:
A federal judge yesterday struck down the parts of the recently revised USA Patriot Act that authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use informal secret demands called national security letters to compel companies to provide customer records.
The law allowed the F.B.I. not only to force communications companies,including telephone and Internet providers, to turn over the recordswithout court authorization, but also to forbid the companies to tellthe customers or anyone else what they had done. Under the law, enactedlast year, the ability of the courts to review challenges to the ban ondisclosures was quite limited.
Last year, the USA Today reports that three phone companies illegally gave out information on their customers to the government. USA Today:
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phonecall records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided byAT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of thearrangement told USA TODAY.
With this Administration, no law is considered precedent unless it was made by them.