In the aftermath of a report that several major U.S. telephone companies gave customer phone records to the National Security Agency, the ACLU of Washington state has started an e-mail campaign asking people to call their phone companies and find out if their records were turned over to the NSA.
The report said AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth were participating (Verizon and BellSouth later denied they had provided records to the NSA), but that Qwest had refused the NSA’s request. The ACLU e-mail campaign also urged Qwest customers to thank the company for its “principled stand.” Qwest, better known by some for its poor customer service record, has been both praised and condemned for its stance.
I couldn’t help thinking about the recent debate over Internet companies refusing or complying with government requests for customer information. I wonder whether this issue will have any long-term effect on Google or Qwest or the others involved.
What do you think companies should do when asked to turn over such data?