Beaverton man sues Verizon Northwest for $1 billion
Saturday, May 13, 2006
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A Beaverton man has filed a $1 billion
federal lawsuit against Verizon Northwest, claiming the
company violated his privacy rights by releasing his
telephone records to the National Security Agency.
The filing in U.S District Court in Portland by Darryl Hines
says Verizon passed his information to the spy agency
without permission or after-the-fact notification.
Hines, through Portland attorney Christopher Slater, asked
the case to be certified as a class action to cover the
estimated 1 million Verizon customers in Oregon, Washington,
Idaho and California.
Slater said Verizon violated the consumer privacy
protections in the federal Telecommunications Act.
The lawsuit was filed a day after USA Today revealed that
after the Sept. 11 attacks, the NSA asked Verizon
Communications Inc., BellSouth Corp., AT&T Corp. and Qwest
Communications International Inc. for millions of telephone
Qwest, which serves much of Oregon, refused.
Former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio told the Oregonian he rejected
the offer because the warrantless requests violated federal
Verizon, which serves Washington County and some other areas
in Oregon cooperated, USA Today said.
Verizon spokesman Jonathan Davies, said he could not comment
on litigation. a statement from Verizon's New York
headquarters said "Verizon does not and will not provide any
government agency unfettered access to our customer records
or provide information to the government under circumstances
that would allow a fishing expedition."
A similar suit seeking $4 billion in damages from Verizon
was filed Friday in New York.
President Bush has refused to confirm or deny the claims in
the USA Today article but has defended the government
surveillance programs, said the United States did nothing
"The privacy of all Americans is fiercely protected in all
our activities," Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio
address. "The government does not listen to domestic phone
calls without court approval. We are not trolling through
the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans."
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com