Vermont pulling plug on telephone company probe

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Two years after launching a probe into whether telephone companies released customer data as part of a federal government spying program, the state of Vermont may give up on it.

The state Public Service Department has recommended that the Vermont Public Board drop the investigation into whether Verizon and AT&T broke state law because a new federal law gives them retroactive immunity.

The investigation began in June 2006 after news media reports that the Bush administration had expanded the government’s spying powers after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Vermont officials wanted to know if AT&T and Verizon violated state law by disclosing customer information.

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