It has begun: Verizon hit with $50 billion lawsuit.

That didn’t take long. A couple of New Jersey lawyers have filed a lawsuit on behalf of all Verizon customers suing the snot out of Verizon for turning over phone call records to the NSA:

“The Telecommunications Act of 1934 is as clear as clear can be,” plaintiff Carl Mayer said. “You can’t turn over the records of your customers and if you do so it’s $1,000 per violation. The Constitution is very clear. The Supreme Court has consistently held that the Fourth Amendment prevents unlawful searches and seizures which we believe this to be.”

At $1,000 for each of Verizon’s 50 million customers, the company and government could be made to pay $50 billion dollars in a class action suit, Mayer said. Verizon Communications said Friday that it could not confirm or deny whether it has provided phone records to the National Security Agency, but the company insisted it protects customer privacy and would never participate in a government “fishing expedition.”

Can you hear me now? Verizon’s investors certainly heard as the stock fell 1% on news of the lawsuit. AT&T is already trying to head off any similar lawsuits by releasing terse press releases:

AT&T also released a statement saying that while it has an “obligation” to assist government agencies “responsible for protecting the public welfare,” it does so “strictly within the law and under the most stringent conditions” in order to protect customer privacy.

“Beyond that, we don’t comment on matters of national security,” AT&T said in a statement.

Oooo. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. They need to try and defend themselves, but they also can’t say too much without running afoul of the NSA. Sucks to be AT&T right now.

4 thoughts on “It has begun: Verizon hit with $50 billion lawsuit.

  1. My concern is that these companies will be able to wave around the “national security” banner, and that the Feds will support them, and that the courts will have no choice but to shrug and let them get away with it.

  2. Verizon’s investors certainly heard as the stock fell 1% on news of the lawsuit.

    Sorry, but its 2% now, and even THAT is barely a blip, Les. Nobody seems to be taking it as a serious threat to their commercial viability. When government here in NZ decided to unbundle telephone and internet, Telecom NZ lost double-digit percentages. The investors here really don’t seem to think anything will come of it.

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