When U.S. President-elect Barack Obama was merely candidate Obama, he told CNET News in no uncertain terms that he opposed the idea of immunizing any telecommunications company that opened its network to the National Security Agency.
In February 2008, the Senate extending retroactive immunity to AT&T or any company found to have violated federal privacy laws. Obama opposed immunity at the time.
But by the time the final vote happened in July, Obama had secured enough votes to win the Democratic nomination, and . He in voting 69 to 28 for immunity from lawsuits.
For his part, Republican candidate Sen. John McCain over whether to support retroactive immunity.
The bill did become law, but the story isn't over yet. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is pursuing a privacy lawsuit against AT&T in San Francisco, and a federal judge in December about whether Congress' grant of immunity complies with the U.S. Constitution. A decision is expected at any time.
Credit: U.S. inspector general
Here is an actual redacted page from
a U.S. inspector general's
on the FBI's surveillance powers.
Politicians may have chosen to bless privacy violations by the executive branch, but they were eager to point the finger at alleged marketing-related misdeeds by corporations.
That happened most prominently in the over whether Internet service providers should be able to intercept traffic--only for the purpose of delivering relevant advertisements--if customers have not explicitly chosen to participate. Hearings , , and eventually, the company known as NebuAd .
The double standard wasn't limited to NebuAd. In April, then- federal and local police should use custom software to monitor peer-to-peer networks for illegal activity, and that $1 billion in tax dollars should be spent to help make that happen. A shows that his surveillance-friendly views are long-held.
Similarly, the that it wanted new legislation that would allow federal police to monitor the Internet for "illegal activity," which . The FBI also for a law forcing Internet service providers to keep records of their users' activities for later review by police.
The presidential election brought its share of privacy promises, pledges, and missteps. Joe the Plumber was the subject of some , and Sarah Palin found that her . Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr to be the privacy candidate, but that didn't propel him to victory.