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DOJ sues to block Verizon testimony on possible NSA surveillance role

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday filed a complaint in federal court seeking an injunction against Verizon Communications [corporate website] and the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) [official website] to prevent the PUC from demanding that Verizon attest in a sworn statement to comments previously made regarding Verizon's participation in the NSA domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. Verizon has previously denied turning over consumer phone records to the NSA [JURIST report], and on August 9, the PUC ordered Verizon to detail their participation in the NSA program as part of an investigation into alleged privacy law violations. The DOJ argued in the complaint that if Verizon complies with the PUC order, any admission they make could negatively affect national security.

The DOJ in June sued the Attorney General of New Jersey [JURIST report] to block telecommunications companies from cooperating with a New Jersey investigation into whether they broke privacy laws by giving customer call records to the government. In several lawsuits challenging the NSA surveillance program, the DOJ has argued such suits could reveal state secrets [JURIST report]. Last week, a federal judge ruled the NSA spying program unconstitutional, a ruling immediately appealed [JURIST reports] by the DOJ. AP has more.

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