Brad Templeton

Chairman, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Suing AT&T for a Trillion Dollars While the President Tries to Stop You
16 minutes, 7.8mb, recorded 2009-03-05
Brad Templeton

In Hepting v. AT&T, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the telecommunications giant on behalf of its customers for violating privacy law by collaborating with the NSA in a large-scale wiretap. In June of 2009, a federal judge dismissed Hepting, ruling immunity from liability under the FISA Amendments Act (FISAAA), which was enacted after early Hepting victories. Here, Brad Templeton, chair of EFF, talks about the specifics of privacy, U.S. protections of it, and creation and developments on the FISA Court, which reviews secret wiretap requests.

Templeton outlines the case against AT&T, and the federal governments' actions in creating and upholding immunity for AT&T. He also discusses some of the federal government's elusive dodges concerning privacy. Finally he warns that surveillance laws affecting privacy and requiring wiretap ability stifle innovation in the emerging telephony field.

Citing as examples E911 requirements, which automatically associates a physical address with the calling party’s telephone number; and the CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) which requires wiretap capabilities are built into all equipment made and deployed; he says not only are there privacy issues, but barriers to entry and innovation for small telephony companies.

Brad Templeton founded and ran ClariNet Communications Corp., the first internet-based content company, then sold it to Newsedge Corporation in 1997. ClariNet publishes an online electronic newspaper delivered for live reading on subscribers machines. He participated in the building and growth of USENET from its earliest days and in 1987 he founded and edited rec.humor.funny, the world's most widely read computerized conference on that network, and the world's longest running blog. He has been a software company founder, and author of a dozen packaged microcomputer software products.

He is chairman of the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the leading civil rights advocacy group for cyberspace. He also sits on the advisory boards for a few internet startups. Currently he is building a new startup to reinvent the phone call. He is also on the board of the Foresight Institute (A Nanotech think-tank) and BitTorrent, Inc.


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