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Illinois lawsuit seeks to block telecom giant from giving phone records to NSA

[JURIST] Author Studs Terkel [CHS profile] and other Illinois residents are suing AT&T [corporate website] to bar the phone company from handing over customer records to the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] without court oversight. The putative class action lawsuit [complaint, PDF], filed Monday in US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website], seeks declaratory and injunctive relief but not monetary damages. "When government uses the telephone companies to create massive databases of all our phone calls it has gone too far," Terkel said [ACLU-IL press release]. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois [advocacy website] is representing the plaintiffs, who include a state politician, a rabbi, a law professor and a physician. They fear the NSA surveillance program [JURIST news archive] threatens the confidentiality of their work.

AT&T, unlike other phone companies, has not denied involvement in the program [JURIST report]. AT&T and the US Justice Department have argued that another lawsuit against the company seeking damages in respect of alleged violations of privacy rights should be dismissed [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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