PSB dismisses eavesdropping case

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(Host) State regulators have closed an investigation into allegations that phone companies tracked calls made by Vermont customers as part of a huge domestic spying program.

The Public Service Board said it had no choice in dismissing the case, because Congress last year gave the companies retroactive immunity from this kind of litigation.

The case began in 2006 when eight Verizon customers asked the board to investigate whether the company disclosed information to the federal government. The request followed news articles that said the companies had participated in a huge secret spying program following the September 11th terrorist attacks.

The Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union joined the case. Director Allen Gilbert says he’s disappointed, but not surprised, that the board was forced to close the investigation.

(Gilbert) "We still don’t know the answer to who may have been looking at Vermont customers’ phone records. We still think that this is a violation of the privacy policy that we find in the front of all our phone books. We wish there had been a way that we could have found to get to the bottom of this, but it seems like we’re being blocked." 

(Host) The board said the case could be re-opened if there’s a successful legal challenge to the law protecting the companies.


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