Well, guess who was a big customer of those phone records? Yeah, I gave it away in the title of this post, but it still boggles my mind. The Bush Administration. Aravosis explains:
[T]oday we learn that the federal government and local police were using these questionably-legal online data brokers to get YOUR private phone records without the necessary search warrants.
Yes, the Bush administration once again didn't go to courts of law to get search warrants when it was supposed to.
Numerous federal and local law enforcement agencies have bypassed subpoenas and warrants designed to protect civil liberties and gathered Americans' personal telephone records from private-sector data brokers....
The law enforcement agencies include offices in the Homeland Security Department and Justice Department -- including the FBI and U.S. Marshal's Service -- and municipal police departments in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Utah. Experts believe hundreds of other departments frequently use such services.
Now, this gets even more interesting. While the House passed one bill that would address this issue, a second piece of legislation was due to be debated on the House floor on the same day that USA Today revealed that Bush was using AT&T and other phone companies to spy on you. That day the House legislation suddenly disappeared and never was to be seen again. No one knows how it disappeared or who pulled it (though it had to be a Republican, like Denny Hastert, since they control the House). And even more interesting, for some unexplained reason the Senate legislation has gone nowhere. Bill Frist just won't move it.
Now that we know the Bush administration has been skirting the law by buying your phone records without the necessary court order, it's looking more and more interesting that the Republicans in Congress seem to be sitting on legislation that would protect your privacy and stop this abuse of privacy from continuing.
The House bill had overwhelming, unanimous support. The American people were outraged at these gross violations of our privacy. Then the administration put its foot down and squashed all such legislation because it would interfere with their ongoing efforts to bypass the courts and the law in their citizen surveillance programs.