Telco immunity would set precedent

Our poll asking whether or not telcos should get retroactive immunity for their alleged role in the federal government domestic spying scandal hasn't drawn too many votes yet, but those who have voted so far overwhelming say no. Today, The Washington Post reports that granting telcos immunity would set a legal precedent, and a bad one at that. Whatever your views, I encourage all our readers to vote now so I can present a realistic tally in a future column.

Meanwhile, I have to admit I'm struggling with my own feelings on this issue. I'm continually amazed from one day to the next as new wrinkles emerge that telcos let themselves be dragged into a spying program that certainly seems to be illegal, and against common moral sense as well.

But, we also still know very little about how this program was presented to telcos. Were they told human lives were immediately at stake? Did the government directly or indirectly use some kind of collective 9/11 guilt to coerce telcos to become involved? Did the potential for that sort of guilt play in the minds of the telco executives who agreed to let their firms participate?

That wouldn't make the program or their involvement any more right, but it certainly increases the moral complexity behind this issue.

Tell us where you stand and why.

For more:
- Here's that Washington Post story

- Dan

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