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I've been a Verizon customer for almost a decade, and I'm canceling tomorrow, taking all my personal and business lines somewhere else. I encourage you to do the same, so there is a mass exodus from Verizon -- I'm talking in the tens of thousands if not more -- to signal to  wireless providers that we as consumers won't tolerate this type of behaviour.
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475 comments
 
Brings a whole new meaning to Verison's slogan "Can You Hear Me Now?", doesn't it?
 
Not that I like it, but they were ordered by court. What recourse did they have?
 
Never, ever used Verizon. Now I have a logical reason why. 

This was disgusting to read :(
 
Do you honestly think the others are any better?  Verizon is just the one that got caught.
 
Yeah and Vodafone Australia is pretty bad too... they basically spy on every web site you go to...
 
Do you know an alternative that doesn't do the same for sure?
 
But then I'd be left with AT&T for a carrier.  :shudder:
 
Well, I guess the silver lining is that Hepting v. AT&T at least taught them that they needed a court order.
 
As if they all aren't providing this information to the government. The only way to circumvent this surveillance is to not have a cell phone.
 
This is a symptom of a larger problem, and may extend to your ISP (Carnivore), Comcast, and others. AT&T was already exposed as giving a firehose feed to the NSA by Mark Klein a few years ago.

What we really need to do is rollback the Patriot Act, NDAA, and other attacks on civil liberties since 9/11. Boycotting Verizon really isn't going to convince the media or government, we need people in the streets raising hell over this, calling their congress people. 

No one even cares about the Patriot Act anymore, the big privacy scare today is people worried about Google Glass getting embarrassing pictures of them, or the government getting a warrant for your Pinterest account. People's attention has been completely diverted from Echelon, FinCEN, and Carnivore.

Perhaps people don't care, Americans don't seem to be bothered by torture, or indefinite detention at Gitmo either, nor extrajudicial killings via drones, even in countries we're not at war with. 

How far we've come since 9/11/2001. Bin Laden won.
 
Do you really think this isn't, or won't be, happening with other carriers?  Come on.
 
My wife and I bought Nexus 4's and switched from Verizon to t-mo back in January, literally saving over a thousand dollars a year with better service and a better phone.
 
I don't know that blaming Verizon is the right thing here. According to the article, "The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI's request for its customers' records, or the court order itself." Seems like it's the government you should be mad at.
 
+Kasper Brohus +Clinton Hardy likely imprisonment and a firesale. But, they could still have refused. They chose profitability over the rights and well being of their customers.
 
You should think about +T-Mobile.  I've only been their customer for a month and some change, but I am highly satisfied with their service and almost as importantly their customer service. 
 
Seems strange the government would single out Verizon on this. I'm guessing we just haven't heard about the other carriers at this point.
 
So this is pretty fucked up, but the blame is on the NSA, the Fisa court, and perhaps the Obama administration. It doesn't look like Verizon has a lot of choice in the matter. No point in punishing them, and switching to another provider is unlikely to protect you, as there's no reason to assume they won't demand the same records of whoever you switch to, and they'll have no more recourse than Verizon does.
 
If they can do it to Verizon what makes you think they won't go after other carriers? So what's the point of leaving? You know this is going to happen
 
Switching carriers may not do the trick. We have no way of knowing if the government has the other carriers under the same gag, bag, and tag order.

I'm more concerned with the government end than the carrier end. What's going on that makes the government think they need such sweeping data? Trotting out the same old excuses won't cut it, either.
 
I'm not worried, Echelon already monitors anyway, this is just another layer, for paperwork jockeys.
 
No big surprise there. It falls under the Patriot Act.
 
It's absolutely outrageous. Worse yet, it's been going on since at least 2006. See the quotes and articles below.

"An expert in this aspect of the law said Wednesday night that the order appears to be a routine renewal of a similar order first issued by the same court in 2006. The expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues, said that the order is reissued routinely every 90 days and that it is not related to any particular investigation by the FBI or any other agency." [1]

"The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY." [2]

[1]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/verizon-providing-all-call-records-to-us-under-court-order/2013/06/05/98656606-ce47-11e2-8845-d970ccb04497_story.html

[2]: http://yahoo.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-05-10-nsa_x.htm?csp=1
 
+Martin Seeger The important question is: Do you know who does for sure? Answer: Verizon. There's certainly nothing wrong with being suspicious about all of them, but thinking that they probably do it & knowing that they do it are two different things.
 
If you read it it says that it's likely that all carriers have been given similar orders. This one order was directed at Verizon.
 
The real question is: Verizon's order was made public here. How many court orders have been given that are still secret?
 
The downside to this is that Sprint doesn't have reliable 4G in Seattle, and there's no way I'm switching to AT&T. :S 
 
Did you read the order? It's expiring in 6 weeks. It is an order for data of calls originating or terminating in a foreign country. It's clear to me they are monitoring calls which could identify smugglers; traitors; &, terrorists. I do not have a problem with such preventive measures. More, I'm certain all mobile and Internet service providers are subject to similar orders. Likewise, I expect my mail to be subjected to scan, especially when entering from or being routed from an unfriendly country.
 
We need to ask ourselves, why is the government even asking for it to begin with.  They are drastically and continually overstepping boundaries.
 
Depends if you have something to hide or not. Probably best to use an unregistered PAYG phone to call your dealer anyway tbh.
 
Glad im not on Verizon but I fear this is only the beginning. ..
Bill Reed
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It all began with the patriot act
 
+Eric Wendlandt I am not in the slightest inclined to believe that you would do that in their position. If the NSA has a court order, isn't it them who has the right?
 
+Albert Bodenhamer What I do know for a fact is that Verizon is giving my data to the government where it is stored in a database. That I have nothing to hide is beside the point; this is about fundamental principles. So while I know for a fact that Verizon is giving this data to the government, I do not know that one of its competitors is, so I'm switching to a different carrier.
 
You realize that a) they could make the same request for any telecom provider in the US and b) they probably already have. 
 
It makes no sense for the FBI to only hit up Version for their call records.  They almost certainly have the same order in place for all the telcos.

The only way around this is to use a true peer-to-peer chat system.   Anything that uses a proxy is going to have the same FISA court order handed to the proxy operator.
 
The funny thing is that, from the outside looking in, you guys don't realise you're living in a police state. And yet you sing about being Land of the free. 
 
You should probably write to your representative in Congress about this. This is even worse than when At&t cooperated with the NSA. 
 
The Government isn't just collecting data from Verizon. What rationale would lead anyone to believe this is a Verizon only thing?

This is a symptom. The problem is American voters only really knowing anything about Presidential candidates every four years and continuing to elect to office (or by not voting allowing to remain in office) all the Representatives and Senators who actually pass laws. I'll give you 5 bucks if you can tell me in what district you live without the Internet's assistance. I mean "you" here in the general sense.

I wouldn't worry too much about it though. There's another episode of the Kardashians coming on. That's really what's most important. 
 
phil.ting.com
I only know about this company because of Phillip DeFranco, from the PhillyD show on YouTube.
Ting is a service which is strictly pay-as-you-go. They have a calculator to show how much you could save, and it's generally hundreds of dollars. It's crazy how much these companies bloat their prices compared to what it costs them to maintain their services. Just a thought.
 
Be angry at the courts, Congress and the president, you know the people who we allow to represent us and write things that allow this into law.

In case you're new to this, all phone companies got this order. I also don't believe that stop date means much. Don't get me wrong, switch if you want, I have no reason to attempt to convince you to stay with Verizon

*edit: forgot a branch...
 
+Eric Wendlandt Imprison who? After all the things companies like Blackwater, Bank of America and Monsanto have done without anyone seeing the inside of a cell, I highly doubt the US government is going to suddenly see the person in corporate personhood.
 
+Kasper Brohus i keep secrets because I agreed to keep secrets. In none of my Oaths did I agree to bend the Constitution, the opposite in fact. My stance is that I would choose Death over the choice of giving up my ideals. 
 
And you think other providers have not possibility to listen you when intelligence ask? Rly? :-D 
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"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
 
Remember, it's not just Obama's fault. The Patriot Act was passed with massive bilateral support and signed into law by Bush. Unfortunately, with the way things are going in the U.S., it doesn't matter much which party is in power. It's pretty much six of one and half-a-dozen of the other.

Oh, look! Another election is coming up soon. Thank you sir, may I have another? :-P
 
Every provider is doing this I bet, but good for you in not supporting Verizon.

Time to sign up for Ting? https://ting.com
 
All due respect, Wil, but this has a lot more to do with the government than any particular service provider. Do you really think that any other service provider would oppose a federal court order and defy the U.S. government?

The answer is to either change government policy to respect your privacy, or take steps to protect it yourself. Don't want your call information recorded? Use VoIP instead (or something like RedPhone). Don't want your text messages copied? Use something like TextSecure to encrypt them. Don't want you're web activity monitored? Use a VPN service that doesn't keep access logs, like Private Internet Access.

The government doesn't (currently, at least) care about individual privacy, and few companies are powerful enough to defy the U.S. government. So if you're concerned about your privacy, do something to protect it rather than expecting someone else to do it for you. Encrypt everything, and it won't matter who's listening.
 
+Matt Burns Still works : if this judgement cause massive loses for a company, the next target may argue with judge that it will kill their business.
 
its time for the people to say fuck this unethical bullshit to both our bullshit government and these pussy ass company willing to bend over and take. these carriers, government, and other companies deserve what they have coming
 
Do it. Even if every provider is doing the same, we should show them that customers will react to this and it will hurt them.

Google received similar orders and they have kicked up a pretty big fuss about the legality of it all. I expect my wireless provider to kick up a similar fuss and to put its customers first.
 
If you cancel your Verizon account, who are you going to go to? AT&T? T-Mobile? Are you really so naive to think that Verizon was the only one targeted? For all we know, a Verizon employee leaked this(at the risk of their liberty, I might add), so for all we know Verizon might have been the only company with an employee that felt it was worth risking his/her liberty to inform you of the situation. This actually seems MORE likely than other options. If this is the case, then you are abandoning Verizon for a company with employees who do what they are told, instead of do what's right. Now that would be tragic.

We have no reason to think that Verizon was the only carrier presented with this court order, so to punish Verizon is to punish the wrong entity.
 
Governments have succeeded in dividing the public in so many ways - war on drugs; war on terrorism; liberal v. conservative; rural v. urban - and that keeps us from seeing what is going on around us. Verizon isn't the only company compelled to hand over information. Changing carriers will do nothing. You need to call your political reps. This isn't only happening in the US - it's all over the world, and it's not just the commies any more - it's YOUR country and MINE.

I understand the need to so something, if only symbolic, to protest this invasion of your privacy, but this happened because LAWMAKERS allowed it to happen.

Stop fighting each other and take the time to see what your governments have been doing while your attention has been diverted.

"...O'er the Land of the Free" rings rather hollow at the moment, doesn't it?
 
I wish I had the option here in the Midwest...
 
If you are truly upset about this practice and wish to see it stopped, leaving Verizon is not the solution.  Feel free to leave if you want but don't delude yourself into thinking it will even make a noticeable dent in their subscriber base.

Instead, write your congressmen.  Write your senators.  Write the president.  Write the attorney general.  Encourage your fans to do the same.  Make noise where it counts and get the laws fixed, so they stop trampling all over our constitutional rights!
 
UK visitor commenting here.... may I state the obvious please. If said service provider is required by court to provide this info, why are you blaming verizon for this ruling? And besides, where ever you go to, you will be subject to the same monitoring. What are you going to do, set up your own cellular network? Complain to the government, not the providers. 
 
yeah, and you guys were all out there waving the flag and ballyhooing  bush and cronies passing this same patriot act.
 
Sorry to say but folks voted this guy and his team back in office.  This is what some had warned about.  This president,his cabinet and czars have no regard for US citizens rights, freedoms or privacy, you are now owned by the US government.

If anyone thinks there will be a huge exodus from any telecom company, they are sadly mistaken.  If a large part of the country doesn't think there was anything wrong with the way the IRS targeted certain groups based political viewpoint or is concerned or even aware of the numerous other scandals that have happened then most average folks will never stand up and speak out.

It is sad that I have come across many folks that have no idea what the IRS has done, what the Benghazi incident is or any other numerous things we should be aware of.  I guess the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo keep everyone busy and informed.
 
Likely they're all forced to do it.
 
+the meltman Big Brother is bipartisan. Bush may have passed the PATRIOT Act, but Obama supported and expanded it. And the problem legislation was proposed and passed with support from both parties. So pointing fingers and blaming the other guys is useless.
 
+Wil Wheaton as a respected celeb you could certainly stir up some momentum to get Americans outraged enough about this to at least get Obama worried. The ultimate goal would be to impeach him but that requires a massive public outcry. I think I speak for a lot of UK people who were previously supportive of Obama due to the illusion of being a liberal, that this kind of thing destroys any respect and he now needs to be made an example of to any future governments.
 
Mr. Wheaton, if this comes as some sort of surprise to you, then you haven't been paying proper attention.

The NSA has been comprehensively and illegally monitoring the phone network since at least 2003, when news first broke of fiber taps being installed at a major AT&T switching center in San Francisco.  Although the taps had actually been installed sometime in the 2002-2003 timeframe, plans for the illegal monitoring were drawn up in early 2001, well before the 9/11 attacks.

Around 2006, Congress passed the FISA No Seriously We Really Mean It This Time Act, which immunized the phone companies from their aiding and abetting the NSA's unlawful actions.  To date, we have no meaningful insight into the scope or scale of the monitoring, who has access or under what circumstances, nor how long the recordings are being kept.

I would also point out that, despite this comprehensive monitoring of domestic and international telecommunications, we apparently don't have enough evidence to charge bankers or fund managers with any wrongdoing.  Nor do we have any evidence of influence peddling or quid pro quo arrangements between Wall Street and regulatory officials and agencies.

Frankly, at this point, it doesn't matter where you take your business -- they're all corrupt (and overcharging you).  About the best you can do is employ your own crypto to protect the content of your conversations as it flows over the network.
 
It's not the company's fault if your government is forcing them to make these records. If your government is getting that info from them, they will not have neglected all the other phone companies.
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I support the boycott of Verizon. If enough people raise hell, it will send a message to the government and the carriers. Americans have been asleep for long enough on this issue. We could use a little catalyst. It's good if this draws fresh attention to the issue.

Having said that, +Wil Wheaton , don't switch to AT&T. If the testimony of former AT&T technician Mark Klein is true, what AT&T is doing is even more egregious.
 
+Charles Griswold: We can totally blame Obama here. I mean, I voted for Obama, but this was totally within his power to prevent: Bush had the patriot act as well, and never tried (as far as we can tell) anything remotely as comprehensive and invasive as this. Obama is the executive. The Patriot Act gives the executive branch powers, which it may largely execute at its discretion. Obama had a choice: encourage stuff like this or discourage it. So far, it seems like he has been encouraging it.

I really hate this, because I really want to like him. :(
 
All the righteous indignation is good from a "Well, at least they are thinking, now." perspective; But, how many of you really care, given the alternative?  Personally, I don't do anything, online or on the phone that should set off any alarms where terrorism is concerned.
When they start using it for political profiling (And they will), I WILL care. A LOT!
 
+Ryan R yes but you then are attacking the wrong target.  Verizon was ordered to do this as were other companies I am certain.  This type of invasion of your privacy will increase as time passes, as people get use to the idea.  You are correct that people have been asleep way too long but unfortunately waking up now won't do a damn bit of good as not enough people are concerned with this path we are on.
 
I have a question to the Americans. If you are a customer of Verizon, can you sue them for this? Or the NSA? Or is that actually legal? And if it is legal, why is there not a huge uproar about it being legal and a movement to get your parliaments to make it illegal? 
 
Chances are if they're collecting from one carrier, they're collecting from all carriers. I don't think moving your service to another company will solve the privacy problem.
 
What worries me is we have no way of knowing if the NSA has obtained the same kind of court order with any or even all of the other carries. 
 
+Robert Quattlebaum: You also have not been paying attention.  The illegal, comprehensive monitoring of the phone network was designed and implemented entirely under the watch of the Bush Administration.  Plans for doing so began in early 2001, well before the 9/11 attacks.

However, you are correct to criticize Obama for not doing more to get this nonsense shut down.  You'd think, as a constitutional law profesor, that he would know better...
 
Most people post everything on Facebook anyway so the NSA don't need a tap... they just need to be your 'friend.'
 
For your consideration, from the very same article...

"It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks. It is also unclear from the leaked document whether the three-month order was a one-off, or the latest in a series of similar orders."
 
Being  european I might be wrong here, but my impression is that most americans don't really have a choice when it comes to carriers? I mean, it really depends on where you live - if only one carrier has good coverage (and LTE) in your area then you're screwed, right?
 
...and...
"The NSA, as part of a program secretly authorized by President Bush on 4 October 2001, implemented a bulk collection program of domestic telephone, internet and email records. A furore erupted in 2006 when USA Today reported that the NSA had "been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth" and was "using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity." Until now, there has been no indication that the Obama administration implemented a similar program."
 
It amazes me that people still believe they have some sort of privacy in the digital age. 
 
In addition to cancelling your subscription you should really contact your representatives and find out what their position is on this kind of activity, and make it clear to them that you will be voting for the candidate that opposes it.
 
1) Already planing on leaving Verizon after my contract is up.
2) Do you really believe that there isn't the same kind of court order, just like this one, in place for ATT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint?
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+Lars Rye Jeppesen that's not really true. It depends on where you are, but in most urban areas there are 3/4 large carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint) as well as other regional carriers. In rural areas the choices may be more limited, but many of the carriers have roaming agreements anyway.

I think as others have pointed out, the big carriers are probably all subject to NSA collection. I think it's possible some are worse than others though.
 
+Robert Quattlebaum I didn't vote for Obama. :-) Yeah, I blame him for what's currently going on, but you can't really ignore the fact that everything was set up for him during the Bush era (and the previous administration set things up for Bush, ad nausium).
 
+Wil Wheaton Don't do anything rash. We may find that more carriers were ordered to do the same.
 
I doubt very much that it's only one company having to comply to the order. I suspect it's all of them. 
 
I feel so sorry for Verizon in this. They care victims in this just as much as anyone else.
 
you are all delusional if you don't think every other phone company is doing the very same thing. 
 
Didn't ATT already get caught doing the same a few years back? You're option is to not have a phone at all, or have one but just realize it's not a very private.
 
It's not only in the USA... it's happening all over the world!!!
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You may want to wait on that, Wil - odds are we'll be hearing that ALL carriers were under the same court orders. 

The government is too big - so big they feel completely justified (and unremorseful) in this behavior
 
+Graeme Taylor well we can only hope not. But I wouldn't put it past the government. I'm guessing your best bet is to go with the smallest provider possible.
 
Shouldn't you be ditching your government rather than your phone provider?
 
It's the government that's overstepping their bounds yet again. This is what our forefathers fought against. Slowly more and more rights are going to be stripped away in the name of security for the nation as a whole.
M Mosel
 
Thanks for taking a stand and speaking out about it.
 
Be interesting to see what impact this and other measures have had on the war on terrorism and other malicious activities. A lot happens behind the scenes that never make the light of day and would shock most people. Perhaps you should be asking yourself what price and liberties must be compromised to allow us to live our lives in a reasonably semi safe environment?
Chris A
 
i agree will but some of us that dont make money like you do cant throw away our phones lines since we count on it daily. now the thing its better then haveing a home phone, i dont have a home phone but the thing is they just wont do it to cell phone users they will do it to people that have landlines as  well just watch ! but it's wrong what they are doing seriously ! overstepping their bounds yet again some how i thnk its going to come crashing down on them !
 
+Rich White You do realize that this program started under Bush, right?  Or is your Obama-hate so strong that you can ignore that fact?
 
Holy WTF? Batman! This is waaay over the top.
 
The problem with your reasoning +Wil Wheaton is that you think going from one oligopoly provider to another oligopoly provider will actually mean something. The problem here isn't the providers, the problem is the arrogant swine who own the nation and run it as they will via their wholly-owned proxies in Congress. If the American people won't hold the politician's feet to the fire when they misbehave, they deserve what they wind up with.
 
If only we could find a way to boycott/buycott the NSA, since this was their doing.  If Verizon was indeed ordered to turn over records, as much as I don't like Verizon, I don't imagine it would have went well for them if they resisted.
 
I've had many a reason to dislike Verizon for quite a while now. A few months ago I got my Nexus 4 and made my switch. T-Mobile isn't available in my area but I was lucky enough to get an AT&T SIM for Straight Talk before they were gone. If I could though I'd be all over T-Mobile's prepaid options. 
 
Being with Sprint I never have to worry about phone records as I can never get a good enough signal to use it. ;)
 
Secret courts; gagging orders; wholesale surveillance of the citizenry? That's nothing to do with Verizon. If you want to get mad, get mad at the Nobel Peace Prize winner in the White House for allowing this to happen on his watch. Get even madder at your elected representatives for not calling him out on it.
 
+David Hall "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." (source unclear)

Terrorists want to terrorize. If you even give up your freedom to communicate without having to think about listeners, terrorists have won.
 
+Christian Georg Becker The original quote is "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." and it was Benjamin Franklin.
David V
 
Leo nailed it as far as what we know about the modern NSA movements to capture data. But don't forget about the Eschalon program for digital communications either. And through the 50's tapping a phone line was as easy as connecting alligator clips to some wire.

And please with the Obama hate on this. If you believe he's unique or worse or even mildly in control of what the spy agencies actually do any more than any other president, take a moment and study history.

There are people trying to make a new fully encrypted Internet(which could carry new communications routes for voice) using terrestrial radio repeaters. But that is a ways off in terms of funding.

You could switch to encrypted HAM radio. It's still free.
 
Canceling your Verizon plan is pointless, all the carriers do this now. Big bother has been watching for some time.
 
Didn't the US government recently say they are concerned about personal privacy with Google Glass? - and yet they are doing this! Hypocrites. The only difference between politicians and hypocrites is the spelling.
 
Better idea:  Go with whichever mobile company gives you the best service and value for your money.  Don't worry about privacy...you don't have any regardless of which one you choose.
 
+Wil Wheaton while I agree with the sentiment of this post, if the NSA has it's hooks in Verizon, you can bet that they're also getting records from sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile as well (with or without the carrier's approval). And now the FBI is pushing for back door access to everyone's communications as well. 
 
I don't think switching from an operator you know is handing over information to one you must suspect to do the same says "you shouldn't give out our information" as much as "we don't want to know you're giving out our information"...
 
I'm not seeing the proper amount of outrage and disgust directed at the real source of this problem, that is our government. To demand that a business, especially a large corporation, stand up for us and defy a court order is wishful thinking. If you think the spying begins or ends with Verizon, you're kidding yourself. 
 
Interesting, I'm reading this on Google and they have to do the same thing. I don't see anybody not using them..??
 
Thanks for this.

Actually my harvard classmate Marc Rotenberg Esq. runs the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in DC and he's usually the one who sues Facebook, Google, Verizon et al. on all these privacy issues.

Not only is he a terrific FTC, FCC and first amendment attorney, but he is a chess grandmaster who can play blindfolded while reading a magazine and talking to a pretty girl and beat you without breathing too hard.

He wins all of these cases and we are fortunate to have him representing us and the public interest.

I'd like to say he was unusual, but he was fairly typical of the brilliant harvard classmates I had in college and the kinds of brilliant things that they do nowadays.

BTW, my wife is one of the hugest TREK fans ever. And hey, so am I.

Live long and prosper, and make it so.

Regards, Art K
 
That order only covers the basics of who, when, where, how long.  Web requests have URL, size/type of return (and possibly cksum).  And this is small bickies compared with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON which looks at content - and can flag conversations with keywords in real time (look at the report to the EU parliament inquiry you can find on the wikipedia page if you want a report that cannot be dismissed as by a bunch of nutters)
 
It's unfortunate that this is top secret, and wherever you go may be doing the same thing. :/ No way to tell.
 
Well that kind of sucks, I do not think any carrier is immune to this though. I have to think twice now on dropping Sprint and its crappy data and phone service. :-(
 
This doesn't surprise me at all..and I"ve always had a really bad feeling about verizon. But this definitely confirms what my intuition tells me. http://whitsblog.com
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The wireless providers are caught in the middle.  They weren't 'asked' to provide this data and voluntarily turned it over.  They had a lawful court order to do so.  Saying 'no' would be a violation of the law.  Even revealing the secret order could result in criminal charges against the corporate executives.

Privacy advocates regularly bang the drum against turning over data 'without a court order'.  Well, they had one.  So what now?  Is the system that allows for such secret and overly broad orders deeply flawed?  Yes, I think so.  But that's not something the wireless providers can change.  That's something we, the public, need to change through our elected officials.

Verizon didn't really have a play here.  It is very easy to armchair quarterback and say "They should've said no".  But saying no to a lawful court order has severe repercussions for a company.  That's inviting the government to come in and shut you down and tie you up with deep investigations into every nook and cranny of your operations.  And in the end you'd probably still lose in this case because of the nature of FISA.  It is a special court.

On top of that, if they have such an order out for Verizon I'd bet good money that they have a similar one out for AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and most if not all of the smaller carriers.  And you wouldn't know because they're secret and the secret is enforced by law.  (This one was obviously leaked, and there will probably be an investigation.)

Punishing Verizon for something the government ordered them to do isn't really fair.  We expect corporations to adhere to the law when it is for the good of the public, such as environmental or safety regulations, we can't pick and choose which laws we want them to follow because we don't like some of them.
 
Mass exodus? Hardly. Methinks all telcos are guilty of the same "crime". Nothing new here to see, move along.
 
It seems to me that you ought to change countries, not phone providers, given that they act in accordance to the law of the land passed in a rare show of bipartisan agreement.
 
They are really just doing as the FBI tells them, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that all other phone companies in the US aren't forced to do the same. So yeah, change government or country, not phone company.
 
Gotta agree with what others are saying. There's no reason to believe any other providers are immune to these demands. And to Verizon's credit, it's very possible this leak came from inside the company.

+1 what +Georg Zoeller said. You're a hockey fan... Maybe you should pick a team north of the border and relocate. (I would happily follow.)
 
"Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither." - Benjamin Franklin
 
NPR said they were only taking meta information. Where calls are coming from and going to. If that's true; I don't see that as a problem. I don't feel like that is a reason to be worried so why would I leave my carrier? I'm sure we're more monitored than we even realize, who cares if they see how often I call my mother? Plus when the NSA says says jump, I assume you legally have to ask "how high?".
 
I'm confused.. According to the article they were ordered by a court and also the don't know if other companies were given similar orders.. So cancel Verizon and have no phone I assume? Otherwise the gesture makes no sense!! 
 
Considering your phone is in your pocket with a GPS, that meta information provides an accurate track of everyone's movement.
 
The fact that people act shocked about this stuns me. Do you honestly think the NSA (or any government agency) has the need, manpower, desire, or ability to look over every "lol" text or call you make to your mom every day? If the records are stored then they can look through them when or if there is a need to do so. The article says they are getting the numbers involved in the calls and other information like location of the callers but not the details of the conversation. I personally could care less if someone looks at that type of information. If they want your records , they will get your records no matter where you go for service. 
 
If they're court ordered how is it their fault? Granted I want to leave Verizon anyway but every other carrier sucks in my area. 
 
Always hated Verizon anyways... been an AT&T customer since they were still Cingular Wireless
 
"Transparent" Obama administration ORDERS Verizon and others to produce wiretap information...Will Wheaton drops Verizon and says nothing about the people responsible for the court order. lawl...asshat. 
 
Do you seriously think Verizon was the only carrier targeted? It's just the only one we know about right now. 
 
There's nowhere to hide.  They'll all get forced to do it at some point.
 
Pretty good chance that AT&T is doing the exact same thing than Verizon actually.
 
What makes you think any other wireless carrier won't do the same?
 
As some folks have mentioned this is only a transfer of metadata. However metadata is usually only useful when you can correlate it with data. With that in mind I would be surprised if the didn't also have ready access to the content of the calls as well. 
 
So... this is Verizon's fault?
 
I now have another reason why I am happy with AT&T....
 
First of all, this is not Verizon's fault. The NSA managed to get a court order forcing them to hand over the phone records. 

If the NSA wants to get its grubby little dick-skinners on said data...it will. If we all leave Verizon today forcing them to go out of business...the NSA will just start data mining (again with the super-duper-secret court orders) whomever we end up going to. We leave Verizon and jump to AT&T and in a couple months we'll have to leave them and go to T-Mobile.

And a couple of months after that the news will leak that the NSA is doing that to T-Mobile and we have to jump to Sprint.

And so forth and so on. 

So...is it really Verizon's fault? Should we punish Verizon for being bullied by our Government? Should we then punish every wireless company that the NSA will likely bully next? What happens when we've punished all the companies and we put them all out of business because we left all of them and drained them dry of any business? 

You want to do some good? Don't go after the bullied, go after the bully. In this case...the NSA and the court that gave them the power to do this in the first place. 
 
This is not new news +Wil Wheaton. This has been going for a long long time.  Please research Echelon, Carnivore, and Watch Dog.  These programs have been in place with various agency since the end of the second world war. 

It is only in the past decade that the government has turn 'their ears' inward and started monitoring citizens.  
 
anyone who thinks they are not is not to bright. The reason we deal with this is because everyone wants to be assured someone isn't going to pull off something terrible. I agree we want to prevent that stuff as much as possible, but the more assurance you want the more privacy and rights you give up. 
 
So, the NSA is collecting phone records, and you're angry at Verizon?

How's about signalling to the government that you're not going to tolerate this type of behavior?
 
They were ordered to do it. But they could pull a Google and publish the number of orders they received. That isn't forbidden. Or go to court and fight it. Everybody sucks here.
 
I don't understand how this is Verizon's fault. They clearly fought the order in court. And then there's this:

"It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks."

Which provider are you going to switch to, and how will you be sure they're not doing the same?
 
Dont really understand the outrage with Verizon. They are complying with a court order. It would be naive to think similar orders were not in place for all other carriers. 
 
The thing that gets me, is that in the article it states the court order requires that they provide this information, basically, "from now on without us asking and forever".  How can any of this be legal?
 
In the eighties I dated a girl whose father ran wiretaps for the FBI. The FBI was required by law to inform the people whose phones they tapped that such wiretapping had occurred, but not until 30 days after they had removed the tap. The FBI sidestepped this in the simplest method available: they just never removed wiretaps.
 
I seriously dislike Verizon for their greed, but based on the article, anger at Verizon for this specific issue seems misplaced.
 
Only thing is that Bush started this, not Obama.
 
Really??? Its not Verizon's or any other Service Providers fault. Yes I agree that the NSA should not just collect what they what when they want, but what do you have to hide? 
 
Best of luck with that +Wil Wheaton . If one is doing it, they all are. The Telecomm industry does things in lockstep, so if one did it, so did the others (or they will do).
 
Oh and use VOIP over wifi whenever you can, that'll screw with them.
 
I'm sure they are all handing over data.  
 
Storing every single byte of data would be prohibitively expensive.
 
I don't think I'll be dropping my verizon service simply because they complied with a federal order.

Maybe we should be taking a closer look at our government, instead.
 
I'm thinking on going to tmobile. Sprint is a death trap. Forrest of no return. 
 
On the upside, our government is really, really bad at technology.
 
It's an all out attack on privacy these days. I don't blame you. We have to fight it. 
 
AT&T has been in bed with the feds for many years now.  They were willing to allow the warrantless wiretaps before they were public knowledge.  If it's on a wire, it's being listened to.  Welcome to 1937 Germany all over again.
 
+Wil Wheaton Changing carriers is not likely to improve the situation at all. Nearly all carriers are likely having data collected by the NSA. I am certain not a sympathizer towards this companies, but they don't have a choice. When the court tells them they must comply, there isn't really anything they can do otherwise.
 
"A furore erupted in 2006 when USA Today reported that the NSA had "been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth""

+Wil Wheaton I'm not saying that you don't have a valid concern but ever since at least 9-11, the NSA has been spying on Americans. I'm sure they were doing it before 9-11 but the Patriot Act gave them the blessing they needed to be a lot less secretive about it.

Where are you going to take your business, AT&T? They're complying with the NSA and when the the NSA has it's hooks into all of the major wireless providers how long will it be before they net all of the remaining little fish?

Face it. There is no privacy anymore, no secrets, unless you go completely off the grid which most people aren't willing to do. 
 
I just started doing tech support for Verizon... I might be looking for a new job soon
 
I am not sure where verizon at fault. The Order is questionable on legal grounds they aren't allowed to even fight it properly since its illegal for them to discuss this with anyone.

only google recently has started to fight this in the open. 
 
Funny reading the excuse "they only followed (court) orders" here again and again, as if there hadn't been a Wikileaks (or choose whatever whistleblower you want) in the years between.
 
+Smeg Hain We are having this discussion, freely criticizing our government, openly and publicly. Do the math.
 
Two things:
1) This story is just breaking, so it might be wise to wait a day or two until more facts about what is actually going on and why can be uncovered.
2) If the story as told so far is true, sure, I'm not happy with Verizon, but the real problem is the fact that the government is issuing these sort of data collection orders.
 
My household left Verizon completely 2 years ago due to terrible customer service.
 
+Terence Stigers not if you got one of these requests. if you had an open discussion and you were a verizon for instance you would go directly to jail with no one knowing why since the court hearing is in the fisa court. Even better its nearly impossible to defend your self since all documents related to it are top secret and as such can't be used in the court hearing.  So any request your attorney's ask for information in relation to it they government can refuse to tell you it even exists.  
 
A year or two ago there was a similar issue with AT&T allowing the government to occupy a room at their offices where all internet traffic was collected.  
While it's disturbing to see this article, I'm not surprised nor do I think that Verizon is the only telecom company doing this.  Since 9/11 our civil rights have been destroyed, we have completely given up any privacy for a "sense of security".  
I have seen job postings for "intercepts", basically people that can search through emails that are collected by the government for whatever they wish to find.  I have spoke with colleagues that interviewed for jobs where you listen to people's cell phone microphones when the phone is inactive or even off.  

Privacy doesn't exist anymore.  And to further remove any privacy the car manufacturers are making every car connect to the internet.  With products such as On Star, someone (like the government) can access the microphone in your car, along with the GPS, and track everything you say and do.  

This finding from Verizon is the tip of the iceberg, I'm sure.
 
I never cheered they were all knee jerk reactions to 9/11. I never cheered the patriot act. I am not going to cheer for this either. I chose to become an activist to at least support organizations to fight these over reactions and abuse of power.
 
My question is: Did they just comply or fight it? And what about the other carriers?
 
I can't imagine given everything to the government? Maybe a suspect of a crime, but not everyone! Shame on Verizon!
 
I have always suspected that whenever I talk or do anything over an unsecured line that someone is monitoring. Now it's true.
 
+Smeg Hain Exactly. I remember 9/11 and I remember the introduction of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act wasn't met with resistance or even resignation. Instead, America rejoiced. The American people overwhelmingly approved of a government that waged unfounded war and erased civil liberties with a wide brush. The American government may have chosen these tactics, but they did so with the support of the American people. Why? Because 9/11 scared the crap out of America.

My point is that America IS the Land of the Free. The misnomer is also calling it the Home of the Brave. The American people are a bunch of frightened children.
 
+Wil Wheaton What makes anyone think its ONLY Verizon.  I am sure similar deals are in place for all major carriers
 
I agree. Boycott Verizon. NSA also monitors the INTERNET. Let's boycott that to. Seriously, get congress to protect your rights to privacy. This way we can fight the war on terror here on our own soil and bury our own dead. It's a sad price to pay for more security. NSA isn't after the average American, they are after the ones would would do this country and you harm.
 
Doesn't the fact that it was a court order mean they fought it?  Maybe we're not hearing about other carriers because they didn't fight it.
 
Being poor and trapped in a contract, I have no other option than to remain with them. Add to this I need my phone to work when I use it as my wife has health issues. It's great to pump a fist and march away from service providers when their tactics rub against our beliefs and principals, but those of us just trying to keep our heads above water financially don't have the ability.
 
Will, All the MAJOR carriers have this.  Verizon appears to be the one that was made public.  But I am sure the leaks will show sooner or later AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint have such orders as well.  So stay away from them!  
 
We left Verizon several years ago when they started handing over phone records without complaint.
 
On Sprint, which has a different set of issues...
 
I cancelled my Verizon contract over a year ago b/c of shady billing issues and have been happy with Sprint for the most part since.  Verizon must have missed the memo that reminded them to not be dicks ... 
 
I knew there was a reason I didn't renew my contract when it ran out last month.
 
As was already said, Verizon was compelled to do this by court order.  I suppose they could fight it, but what would it get them, and they'd still have to hand over the data while fighting in court.    I'd bet money that all the carriers have similar orders, and to be honest, i'd be steaming mad at the people who wrote and approved the court order.  I have other reasons for disliking Verizon, I don't need this one.  I use them for convenience.    That being said, more needs to be done to protect data, kinda like the privilege that the news media once had to protect their news sources. (and i'm not sure if that is the answer, just a random thought)
 
to the ones saying "the others aren't better". We had a similar thing with boycotting gas stations (price fixing). We need gas so we can't boycott all of them. But, we can choose to exclude a certain brand, and this is what this is. Verizon will feel it, the others will get a boost, but they will know that THEY could be next. And they should be next. If verizon went bust, another would take it's place. Maybe even one that offers better protection. 
 
I highly doubt Verizon is the only telecom that is doing this. Just the only one we now know of. If you really want to protect your privacy then jusy cancel your lines and don't create new ones.
 
Thank you for putting a powerful voice behind the cry for privacy.
 
When Bush gets a FISA order to monitor phone calls, it's his fault.

When Obama gets a FISA order to monitor phone calls, it's...Verizon's fault.
Adam M
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+Kelly Barnes sadly they couldn't fight the court order... that's the problem with "Secret" court orders - you are in violation of the law if you try to appeal it because it is illegal for you to admit that the court order exists.  FISA and other laws that allow for secret courts are contrary to the principles that this country was founded upon.  And, not to mention unconstitutional.
 
.. But I'm unsure how this is Verizon's fault. They were issued a court order and a gag order on it. If you want to put pressure on someone for an abuse, it should be on the white house.
Holly B
 
Google also has to hand over info so eventually it will be all info everywhere.
 
I had Verizon for my laptop and the service was terrible. I threatened to take my business elsewhere if it didn't get better. It didn't and I left.
 
Verizon may be who The Guardian is reporting on, but I highly doubt they are the only ones doing this.  :(
 
So if anyone is actually seriously considering leaving Verizon we should probably get a little organized, find out a good alternative option and all move as a group for the most effect. I'm glad be a part if anyone wants to group up.
 
I doubt it matters which wireless telco you go with. I would bet all of them got the same court order. Not that wireless companies aren't deserving of flat out hatred for other reasons, but your anger here is misplaced. The blame lies squarely with the NSA and the administration.
 
Could have told you that 10 yrs ago ... all telecom companies and Internet service providers have been guilty of this at some point ... 
 
I share your indignation, but what happens when it's eventually revealed that the NSA had similar orders with the other carriers as well.
 
Vodaphone has a huge share in Verizon, for the UK peeps. 
 
There is a problem with the logic of cancelling because of this.  This is a court order.  Verizon doesn't have a choice in the matter.  To assume this is only Verizon that got hit with a court order would be assuming a lot.  Where you going to go?  AT&T? (Ha!)  T-Mobile?  Who says they didn't get the same court order?  Do you honestly think if they did get one they would dismiss it?  I think not.

Like Verizon or not, you can't blame them for this.
 
I find Verizon loathsome for a variety of reasons (though not necessarily moreso than other carriers), but I find it hard to damn them for obeying a secret FISA court order.

The only way to change this, if people want it changed, is through political action, starting with contacting your congresscritters and your president and letting them know what you think, and how it will drive your actions next time they or their party comes up for election.  

We the People allowed this, by writing the government a blank check to Go Fight Terrorists and Keep Us Safe, by saying nothing when sweeping legislation like the PATRIOT Act were passed (and repeatedly reauthorized) with barely a murmur of dissent.  Only by making it abundantly and firmly clear politically will the politicians that have enabled and enacted this change their behavior.
 
Not to disagree, but frankly, what's to stop all the other providers from being one court order away from doing the same thing?  Feels a little to me like punishing the pig because the big bad wolf huffed and puffed and blew his house down.
 
Switching carriers doesn't resolve anything. I guarantee that the other carriers have similar orders in place. 
 
I am by no means a Verizon fan... but this is like people boycotting you because you handed over your tax documents to the IRS while being audited.  Be angry with our government, not Verizon.
 
Right. Blame Verizon. Its definitely not the Administration's fault for collecting the records.
 
+Wil Wheaton while I certainly agree with your outrage, the method of your response seems to be mistaken. If you used your celebrity to force the US government to show any and all carriersunder these same orders, then I would back you and we might actually get to the rootof the problem. AT&T is already known to be providing information. It is also known that taps exist on major landline trunks. As soon as any cell carrier's servic hits those trunks they can be captured. Sorry, but your outrage, while supportable, is misplaced.
 
All phone carriers do this. Verizon is the only one that refused and was forced to give up its records by the courts. The rest gave them voluntarily.
 
+Anders Drejer Madsen Not all companies are turning over their records. Last I checked (this morning), T-Mobile has said they won't. If they get slapped with a court order, things might change, but as of right now, it's only the 4 biggest US providers that are doing this.
 
Why blame Verizon?  They had no choice in the matter (other than refusing, in which case they would be fined so much money that they would likely shut down.  Possibly even have executives jailed).

If you're going to be mad, be mad at the government that is doing this.  The NSA tried this under Bush, and it has succeeded now.  This has nothing to do with party rhetoric, it is all about our own government violating our rights and spying on us.

Stand up, and voice your anger.  But make sure to direct it at the guilty parties.
 
+John Ogden I think this isn't just because of that.  Judging from Verizon's numerous other bad tactics, this is most likely just the straw that broke the camel's back.
 
I'm going to call and complain, but I'm still fairly early into my two year contract so I can't go anywhere.
 
I'm sure similar thing have been said by other commenters, but... I'm no fan of Verizon (at all!) but this could happen on ANY carrier. I don't feel that Verizon is at fault here. It's the NSA that's at fault (in that the law is ridiculous!).
 
It seems like the time and energy that people are willing to expend on this issue needs to be directed towards changing the underlying situation.

Start a whitehouse.gov petition, contact your lawmakers and tell them that you want this investigated, etc. etc. Make a change in the process.
 
The outrage against Verizon is so funny.. You would think the article said "Verizon strikes a deal with U. S. government to sell all personal data for billions"

+Wil Wheaton you are an intelligent guy.. How do you decide it's Verizon's fault when they were ordered by a court.. And most likely the are not the only carrier that has to do this but the only one we are told about.. Perhaps you are hearing about Verizon because they are the only ones who declined to freely give the data and had to be court ordered while the others just gave it away..

Seriously guys.. I really don't understand the frustration with Verizon when this was a government issue.. I supported Obama because he said he would fight for Internet freedom and privacy and the only thing I've seen was the patent trolls law which will be ineffective anyway.. No laws to protect our Internet freedom or laws to protect our privacy and undo damage from the Patriot act..

Just to be clear in case Republicans take this as a "see your guy sucks.. We told you so" you have no idea how much worse things would be with one of your guys.. You are lucky we can complain about this cause with one of your guys we would be locked up already.. So spare me your idiotic arguments.. 
 
My question is... Where is the American media on this story? Yes, incidents like this have been going on for a while, but I'm hearing about this particular case through Wil on G+ (thanks for sharing), with a link to an article in the Guardian - a UK publication. Where are CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, and all the others? Even FOX could be using this as an attack on Obama, with some truth behind it. But no - nothing. Silence. And most Americans don't look beyond their traditional trusted sources for their news. If the people don't know, the people can't object, and this continues like it already has continued for years.
 
The Obama administration on Thursday acknowledged that it is collecting a massive amount of telephone records from "at least one carrier". Lending voice is definitely needed here, but I think I'd hold off on any knee-jerk account switching until we see if this effected any company you might consider hopping to. Switching to another company that is having it's records tapped solves nothing.
 
People will leave Verizon over this and then saddle up with another company that is doing the same thing. The only difference is that they won't know the company is complying with the order. This isn't a Verizon problem it is a US government problem and the only way to escape from it is to leave the country. If you're not planning to do that you're basically fucked. Changing carriers isn't going to fix anything but give you the peace of mind of choosing to be ignorant of the reality of the situation.
 
+Wil Wheaton I am unsure of you logic. Verizon might not be the only carrier the government is spying on. Your frustrations should be pointed at Washington DC.
 
+David Hill
 Or, it will compel Verizon to nut up and pay for the lawyers required to fight it. That's the biggest problem, imo, is that they rolled over.
 
If a company has a court order, they have to comply with it. I'll be leaving Verizon at the end of my contract because of their pathetic customer service practices, but despite my intense dislike for the company, I can't really blame them for this.
 
+Wil Wheaton You're completely naive if you think this is not happening at the other carriers as well. However you were just advocating Obama this last election (instead of being opposed to both Obama and Romney) so it's obvious your head is buried in the sand.
 
I thought the Obama admin was going solve every problem known to man, he even claimed the seas would subside. SIGH
 
I'm not sure if would make Verizon pay for lawyers to fight this. Clearly Verizon had no problem with this as long as it remained a secret or just rumors. I wouldn't be surprised if they turn around and go on the fake apology tour talking about how they see they made a mistake; a rush to judgement, etc. But if they got hit in their wallets it may make them want to double down on secrecy in the future.
 
+Rob Cutmore He can't help it if he's brain washed like the majority of the public. Bernays' propaganda machine is a difficult beast to shake.
 
I think the best response to this is to support organizations that are fighting these government overreach.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation https://www.eff.org/ and the Electronic Privacy Information Center http://epic.org/ are probably the best known ones.
 
I have no loyalty to Verizon (let's say I hate them substantially less than I utterly despise AT&T). But I'm not sure punishing Verizon for something the government did is helpful. Also, if the NSA and FBI got blanket Fisa requisitions for Verizon, they almost certainly did for the other major carriers, and recall that Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile ALL complied with the Bush-era Fisa orders. Additionally, back then, this kind of spying was still technically illegal, but they still didn't bat an eye.
 
Wait...so blame Verizon and not the government ordering them to do it?

Sounds legit. 
 
+Gryph Griffin You can pay for lawyers all you want. If they have a court order you're basically screwed. And, you don't know right now how much they did fight it since they're legally not allowed to talk about it. They might have paid millions to fight ... and lost. You have no idea. People are judging based on limited information and just assuming every other carrier is somehow immune.
 
If only we could cancel our current executive administration right now :(

This is clearly a government abuse of the private sector and our individual privacy.
 
The sad thing is, which other mobile carriers have the same court order.  Changing from Verizon might not have any affect considering all other mobile providers may have a similar court order.
 
Instead of going after the telecom, we need to make our voices known to the government. We should pick a day when Congress is in session and when Obama is in the White House, and organize a mass call-in/write-in campaign to repeal the Patriot Act. Shut down their phone lines and fax lines and jam up their e-mail. Then, do it again the next day. And the day after that. And since the news media is so concerned about their asses with the government assaults on them, they need to be involved in covering it, too.
 
+Wil Wheaton , the problem with punishing Verizon here is that I'm quite sure all the other carriers are complying with equivalent secret subpoenas.  What we need to do is to either a ) force Verizon/etc to resist publicly such orders (ain't gonna happen), or b) force legislators to get rid of the legal justifications for it (Patriot Act, etc) - which while tough, is at least possible.
 
I realize privacy is an issue with our government, it always has been, and, it is a lot easier to "SPY" on us now with almost everyone having cell phones and cameras in or around them at ALL times. The question I always ask is "How many of US compared to how many of THEM."  And what about our satellites, they could read newspapers from space in the 70's, the question here would be again "How many of US and THEM." And don't tell me your next door neighbor doesn't do the same. I'm home alone during the day because of a disability and you would NOT believe how many times I catch my neighbors in my yard or on my porch. This is just MY opinion and NOT meant to belittle anyone's concerns or views on privacy. Just pointing out that we are spied on constantly. I agree with Wil on this one though, I say we need to fight to get the Patriot Act repealed IMMEDIATELY. 
 
Yeah, my first reaction was what +Randell Jesup said...just because there's no leaked document to show it doesn't mean every other carrier isn't doing exactly the same, or would do the same if requested. You're not going to find a big business that benefits from government tax breaks or subsidies that is going to tell them no if they need things "in the name of national security"
 
Why are people blaming Verizon for this? It was a court order.
 
Love Big Brother, Love Big Brother, Love Big Brother.
 
This isn't a new practice.  This has being going on since /at least/ the Patriot Act enactment.  Verizon's not the only one--just the one that the Guardian got a hold of.
 
+Wil Wheaton I only skimmed the article, I didn't see it reporting the recording of actual call conversations.

But, all carriers do this in one form or another, I used to work for two. One of my jobs was to pull data for warrant requests....in order to do that, we had to store the phone usage in a database...

Side note, when you take your phone in for service, the techs look at your pictures/messages to find porn, used to be a contest to see who could find the weirdest stuff.....
 
I doubt it stops there, the age of privacy is over due to the knee jerk reactions of politicians and a frightened public.
 
Sounds like more of a government problem. Why not move up to Canada, Wil? We'd love to have you!
 
Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with it. Then again, terrorists (or other criminals) never call me. So... big whoop.

But I'm appalled that this is the same government that still doesn't have a system to computerize VA Claims paperwork. For that matter, it's pretty sad that we still have to call it "paperwork".

So... Uncle Sam... do what is prudent to fight terrorism today. If that means you know that I never called my mom on her birthday, but sent her an SMS instead, so be it. But for the love of all things good and honorable, take freaking good care of those generous, heroic men and women who fought terrorism yesterday, last month, last year, etc.. Get some damned priorities straight, will ya? Sheesh.

(OK, I did call my mom. She didn't pick up; I left a voicemail.)
 
+Wil Wheaton I hope you realise that all TELCO's will be under the same requirments, not just Verizon who do not have a monoply upon bad people goverments want to speak with.

It is just that this got leaked early about Verizon, and with that just because the others haev not leaked out and wont be officialy public information until 2038 or so then to assume otherwise would not be prudent.

Telco's have been doing this type of thing for goverments for years and years, nothing new and most people will not be supprised at all, it just generaly never gets leaked out.  But certainly it is not a shock or supprise and given telco's have to keep call record logs  already then again, this is really nothing new beyond leaked information about of the the many telco's involved as they have no choice. 

Leaving a telco in this situation to move to another who will also be in this situation albiet not officialy leaked that it happens is perhaps not the best move.  Not like the goverment will go "oh no the bad people will move off verizon and all use another telco, quick to the court order for that telco now", coz they won't as they already have that all covered.  It just has not been officialy leaked out.  But we all know or should that since the cold war days that phone tapping at a larger scale was involved.  Echelon been handeling that for years in Canada, USA, UK, Australia.

Again nothing new and leaving a telco which had the truth leak out to move to another telco that has not had the same truth leak out is for me personaly, not the best move.  But everybody is different, especialy when all the facts are presented.
 
I'd completely agree with this sentiment... if there was ANY reason to believe that the other carriers haven't all been doing the same thing.

Maybe now we can finally kill the Orwellian 'PATRIOT' act.
 
Please tell me Wheaton doesn't really wear tin-foil hats!?
 
I wouldn't leave because of this. I would leave because of over pricing. Every time a new phone comes out they have to throw their crap wear on. And horrible updates they provide. Sprint and Tmoble both don't brand the phones and keep blote wear to a min letting you put on what you want. The main reason I think the HTC one skipped Verizon
 
seriously... you weren't aware until now? and you think this is only Verizon? Interesting.. Europe was basically bullied by the US into changing our laws (see "Data Retention Directive") to do exactly that too, which passed despite of protests and popular petitions and many experts even saying this is illegal based on our basic rights, and Americans don't even know that this is happening in their own country?
 
Wait, why are you blaming Verizon? They're following a court order, not doing it on their own. Blame the government who got the order, protest that.
 
Do the same for the voter-chosen politicians that have allowed this. 
 
Where would you go? Phone calls are digital now and they are recorded some where.
 
So where does one go if they are a ready-to-go, disgruntled Verizon customer
 
My contract is up on 2 months. I'm running back to T-Mobile after that. 
 
From reading the article it doesn't sound like Verizon has been or will be the only target. 
 
I'll just add the word "bomb" to all my text messages.
 
Sad!! Glad I'm not with them!
 
I run a VPN full time now due to Six Strikes.  I don't do any illegal pirating, but the notion that my own service providers are purposely spying on me pisses me the F$%^ off.  
 
I am really encouraged by the overwhelming amount of properly placed outrage on this thread -- directed towards the government. Seriously, it seems a majority of people here get the real problem. 
 
This isn't a problem with Verizon. It's a problem with the NSA. How do you unsubscribe from your government?
 
This is a government problem not a cell phone carrier problem, +Wil Wheaton
Love that my government feels that it's ok to spy on you and me. 
 
Normally I agree with you but in this case your actions are kind of childish. Are you doing something on your phones that's illegal or you don't want the government to know about? If not then what's the problem. All your doing is punishing a company for complying with a legal (at least for the moment) court order. Your problem shouldn't be with Verizon it should be with the government. 
 
Unless we can all rig an elaborate system of tin cans and string, I don't see the point in cancelling service from Verizon... as the article stated it is unknown if other providers are being required to do the same, and if they aren't yet they will be soon I'm sure. If you really want to boycott something when it matters, boycott the Xbox One with its always-on Kinect, capturing video and audio data 24/7 in your living room only way to prevent this is don't buy one).
 
If Verizon is the only carrier they are doing this on, I would be very surprised... 
 
Will I applaud your decision. As a consumer this is the only recourse we have. As a citizen in a free state we should not stand for this type of erosion of our civil liberties.
 
thank you wil wheaton!! i commend you for this!!
 
I find it amazing that everyone is aghast and indignant over the Feds spying on everyone.  Holder, the IRS, Rosen, Fox, AP ... geez, people, this has been going on forever ... since well before good ol' J. Edgar.  Buy a clue.
 
The problem is not Verizon, it's your government. 
 
Wish I could... I don't live somewhere with choices.  It is Verizon or nothing here.
 
There are dozens of reasons to drop Verizon like a bad habit. This is just another one even though they may have had no say in the matter. 
 
As angry as I am about the Verizon situation, I'll have to agree with +Thom Miller here. The problem isn't the telecomm company, it's the gov't. The "Patriot" Act needs to be repealed ASAP.
 
sounds good, wont work. Google has been compling for years, as has att sprint and most other carriers. 

It does no good to get all upset 10 years too late. 
 
+Rich White I may be wrong here, but didn't this order begin in '06 while Bush was in office?
 
And don't forget, the government isn't wanting transcripts, they're looking for time-stamps on calls placed.

The government has been monitoring our shit for forever (I do know this). It's likely they're looking for connections for an investigation they don't have yet.

And that's even if the story is true.
 
+Wil Wheaton They are correlating this data with other data for the Data Center in Utah. Once the communists have completely infiltrated our government and people revolt. This information will prove to be a critical asset for those in power.
We are run by "useful idiots" right now. The real threat is yet to come. 
Don't be fooled into thinking this is just a Verizon issue, it's a government issue.
 
+Jason Ellis if that makes you feel better about supporting Obama. However, the truth is obvious. I guess as long as your not a conservative the government will have no reason to target you right?

Wrong is wrong. The problem is this administration ether doesn't care or doesn't know the difference. 
 
You idiots speak as if the government even cares you exist. As if they collect everything and go, so that's Jackson....

The people involved have never heard of you and couldn't care less if they tried. You're not a concern and never will be.

Get an education.
 
That makes me want to write a Verizon phone virus that causes phones to call Middle Eastern numbers.  False positives are the way to win this.
 
+Wil Wheaton it's kind of naive to think that this isn't being done by all of them! Everybody better think that all your emails, phone calls, texts and social media comments are being monitored! Not that that's a good thing, but it's the type of government we have now! That's not singling out a particular party, that's both of them!
 
Trust me, +Wil Wheaton the devil you know is better than the one you don't. Assuming that the other providers are not giving out the information that the government is ordering is deluding yourself. 
 
It's not Verizon's fault. They were ORDERED to not disclose it.
 
There's a court order telling them to do it and that they are prohibited from telling anyone it exists.

What do you expect them to do?

Do you really think no other carrier has received the same demands?
 
I broke away from "Big Cell" a few months ago.  It's great to not have to pay over $100/mo!  Great tip, thanks for sharing, Wil.
 
"Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama."
I'm sorry, how is this Verizon's fault? I hope you're enjoying your hope and change.
 
+Doug Murphy Not to THIS degree! Getting ALL records is a violation of our rights. Getting SELECTED records of suspects is fine!
 
What's the point in moving carriers?  They are all doing it, it's not like they have a choice in the matter.  Even Google lost it's court case on the matter.  The only fix is to lobby Congress to get the law changed.  With Obama and the Democratic Senate, there is no hope for changing the law.  Only Republicans will be willing to overturn it.
 
This is at least only marginally better than AT&T cooperating without an order only being asked. Google voice may be your answer +Wil Wheaton , GrooVeIP or TalkATone may be your answer. They will run a phone call through Google's system across your phone's data plan. As long as you still have unlimited data, this should work to circumvent the reporting. I don't Google voice has enough users to be targeted. 
 
I agree, BUT I just joined Verizon Wireless over a month ago and I can't afford to drop. ALSO, do you think Verizon is the only one? I doubt it...so where do we go when all of them are most likely doing this? Any proof that others aren't giving our information to the government?
 
I don't believe this is isolated to Verizon.  It is likely all carriers have received similar orders.  The reason we're hearing about Verizon is somebody on the Verizon side must have leaked the highly confidential and marked as "Top Secret" order.  For that, I give kudos to Verizon.
 
Doesn't matter who your provider is, they will comply with a court order. Or in the case of AT&T, without a court order. :p
 
Let me get this right....  You're saying we should leave Verizon because the government forced them to do something?.. Really? ...  
 
You should probably leave the Country since it is our government that is  walking over simple rights of privacy. I am not paranoid. It is a simple fact.  Google hands over our browsing history and here we are on G+ talking.  
 
It says in the article it is believed all carriers are affected.
 
If Sprint hadn't taken so long to get their LTE running I'd recommend going there, but now I'm on T-Mobile and while the LTE isn't everywhere, their HSPA+ is super fast anyway and makes for a much better experience. Plus their no-contract unlimited plans are super competitive, and they are GSM so you can take your phone overseas and pretty much use it anywhere.
 
Yeah, you can't honestly believe this is just Verizon.
 
Loss of privacy is the cost of a large technological society.
 
What, you think the other sevice providers are not sharing their info. Welcome to the digital age, Mr. Crusher.
 
+Mike Pidanick While I agree that the real issue is the invasion of privacy, withdrawing business from these organizations will (hopefully) make the next mega-corp think twice about how they're going to respond to these 'requests'.  Leave Verizon AND contact your local reps!
 
The thing I keep thinking is: is this really Verizon's fault? Verizon is merely complying with a court order. This is the government's fault, not Verizon's. I understand the desire to not use a Verizon phone for the duration of the court order, but I can't really blame them for complying. It's a tough choice. :(
 
Do you really think Verizon is the only carrier to give up this information, or to be ordered to do so? They were just the ones whose top-secret court order was leaked, is all.
 
The article indicates that this is or has been done with all major carriers. The blame is on the government, shame on them.
 
This is just one of a million reasons why I am no longer a Verizon customer. They have been ripping customers off for years - this is just the icing on the cake.
 
I'd only be outraged if the FBI started to accuse me of stuff I didn't do just to get the information they want from Verizon.  

As long as your innocent, why would you care what the government get's from Verizon and Google.  At least they aren't beating down your doors.
 
+Wil Wheaton Like you I have been a long time Verizon customer.  I even worked for them for a year or so.  I am also very tempted to drop my service, but I am wondering if they had a choice?  My understanding was that they were legally required by court order to do this?  Am I wrong?
 
Anybody know what the fees are for terminating a Verizon contract are?
 
+Rudy Vazquez Last I heard it was prorated depending on how much time you have left on your contract.  When I worked there, the max was $375 but that's been several years, many things have probably changed since then. 
 
+Wil Wheaton  I'm not a Verizon apologist, but I think people are looking at the wrong one to blame. Verizon was required by court order to turn this over. And they were required, by court order, to not publicly acknowledge the existence of this court order. Its not like Verizon went to the FBI and said, "Hey we want to just give you this info. Here you go." Also, the information that was turned over is "transactional" which is to say it is phone number to phone number and duration, not the contents of the conversation.

There is a very good chance that this court order is currently in effect with every other phone company in the US. So unless you plan to never use a phone again, dropping Verizon isn't sending a message to anyone. AT&T can't advertise that "we don't comply with FISA orders" to lure away Verizon customers.

If people really want this to stop they have to force Congress to change the Patriot Act which gives this Administration (and future ones) the power to do this. 
Adam R
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Not the brightest comments by some.. The fact is, Verizon did not solicit NSA and say, "I have +Wil Wheaton info, can I please give it to you?" Verizon was forced by a court order. And the same order gagged them from talking. Verizon followed a direct order from a judge.. I'm almost positive other carriers are ordered to do the same. But..... If it makes you feel better and go to a different carrier, you should keep in mind that their court orders have not been exposed because they also have gag orders (probably). I will maintain that Verizon did nothing wrong and was compliant with an order. Use some logic guys... #VerizonRocks
 
+frank whetmore so, you're ok with my phone calls being singled out as I have family in Ireland, England, and New Zealand? Shame on you for being willing to give up on freedoms for others, which don't kid yourself will also effect yourself, for a false sense of security. 
 
I would, but I have to wait until my contract expires at the end of the year.
 
Actually this is the one that got leaked. They are most likely doing it with will all the carriers. Each one would be done separately. Google Voice was probably tapped and Skype as well.
 
The problem with dumping Verizon...this is a court ordered process (one can argue if the courts are overstepping their bounds but Verizon is just doing what it's told)....more importantly..the leak shows the Verizon order..how do you know that every other phone company isn't following a similar order? Knee jerk reactions don't usually work because there's always more going on. Try contacting your elected officials...use your name recognition and fame to get others to do the same...it's more effective than boycotting in this sort of situation.
 
Do you really think this problem is limited to Verizon?  You really think the other carriers aren't doing this too? 
 
My 9 to 5 job is for a financial institution that uses Verizon for all of our business cellular devices... I think I am going to make a case to change that. Thank you for this. (luckily I have never used Verizon for my personal cell)
 
Also, good luck getting past those awful early termination fees. Maybe +Wil Wheaton can afford that, but many can't.
 
Who says they aren't pulling records from all of them? We only know about this one because of a leak, right? The FISA court proceedings are top secret aren't they? I think this is a classic case of hate the game, not the player.
 According to the text it was supposed to be classified until "Declassify on: 12 April 2038"  My money is on them all getting the same order.
  Also, if they refuse, they get sent to gitmo for aiding terrorists.. Welcome to the USA WE ALLOWED.
 
Seriously blaming Verizon for this?  Put the blame where it belongs!!  President Obama should not get a pass, and the blame for this should not be placed anywhere else except the current administration.  
 
+Matthew Shaker You are more likely to be struck by lightning, or win the lottery than to be hurt or killed in a terrorist attack (in this country). Terrorist attacks are dramatic, scary, and dangerous, but over all are exceedingly rare. By allowing yourself to succumb to fear, and letting the government take away your rights to privacy, the terrorists have actually won.

Your rights are being eroded by actions such as this. Do you really want the NSA to have powers much like the KGB had? We're only about half a step from it. The FISA court can grant warrantless wire tapping on international calls (and has been able to since the 70s). The Patriot Act extended these powers substantially to include domestic calls as well. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 grants the government the power to make people disappear by calling them a terrorist.

The KGB could tap phone lines at any time under similar rules, except their buzz word was "disloyalty". How soon before the government realizes they can just make people disappear indiscriminately? Think it can't happen here? The Germans thought they were free under the Nazi party also....

If you think I'm being alarmist, look it up for yourself.

To quote you, come on and wake up.
 
Charles C is correct. The blame falls squarely on Mr Bush, the decider.
 
Ah, nothing is nicer than a Orwellian Summer.
 
Anyone remember this "The New York Times filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in 2011 for a report describing the government’s interpretation of its surveillance powers under the Patriot Act. But the Obama administration withheld the report, and a judge dismissed the case." We need to abolish the Patriot Act.
 
+Wil Wheaton Here are a few points I would like to clear up for you.

1) This isn't Verizon's fault. They have to comply legally.

2) All the major carriers do this.

3) The only data shared is who is calling, who they're calling, and from where based on tower location not GPS. This isn't a wiretap and no personal information is given. The government can get more information about you from your social media posts than from this stuff.

4) They probably don't look at the bulk of the info, but probably filter it as needed.

5) This started under Bush. This isn't the first time it's happened, nor is Verizon the first to do it.

 
The problem isn't Verizon, they're doing as they were ordered to do by the courts; the problem is the law that enables the intelligence agencies to demand this information in the name of "domestic security" or the "war on terror". Any corporation ordered to turn over the records would be compelled to turn them over or face criminal charges. Few companies refuse to resist. That said, I'm leaving Verizon at the end of the year because of their policies with regards to Google Wallet, and, more importantly, the sad state of my wireless coverage in Detroit. (I get much better service in reasonably rural Port Huron than I do in my home.)
 
Come on Wil. It's a court order. What do you expect a carrier to do? Release info about a secretive court order? Do you really think that other carriers were not in the same position? I wouldn't be surprised if other carriers weren't part of the same process. Why would the NSA single out one carrier for metadata? 
 
When I got up and read the news this morning, I was surprised this order didn't cover all four national carriers.  I remain a happy AT&T customer for the time being who has his GnuPG installation in good working order.
 
We should be canceling our contract with Obama, too.
Not to make excuses for Verison, but they're doing it under a court order. They have no say in the matter, but Obama sure did. He's making them do it.
 
In other news, the credit card companies already know exactly where and when I buy everything I eat and use; to the extent that if someone else steals my credit card, there's a 99% chance that by their third or fourth purchase the card will automatically disable itself.

The only difference, I suppose, is that the credit card companies aren't also granted the power to incarcerate people without trial for "terrorism."
 
+Wil Wheaton , your outrage is justified.  Your reaction is illogical.  In effect, you're punishing the victim of a government action.
 
Just make sure where ever you're going to isn't doing the same thing.  I doubt the NSA is only doing this with Verizon.  Probably everyone is doing so.

Hopefully this is a signal to the government that we don't approve of this.  And this will for Verizon and other carries to start pushing back as well or continue to lose customers.
 
Seriously? You think Verizon is in some way special? That the other carriers don't have this issue? Why would that be the case?
 
A government that is big enough to give you everything (safety) is big enough to take everything.

Stuff like this won't stop until we make the Federal Government small again. Like pre-WWII small.
 
So, +Wil Wheaton, have you dropped Verizon like a dirty habit? Or did you read though all of the comments (and article) and realize that Verizon isn't the only provider being court ordered to fork over information, they were just the one's whose court order was leaked to the public?

I understand what you're trying to do, but switching providers won't stop the government from obtaining your records.
 
Thank you +Matthew Shaker.  This has been going on for years, and before cell phones it was landline phone records.  It's just that a new order was put out after the Boston Marathon which is, admittedly, a bit more aggressive than anything prior.

I still don't agree with it, but I don't think boycotting Verizon will help either. :(  The gov't can do this to any telecom, and may have already.  It's just the court order for Verizon was leaked.  There may be others that have NOT been leaked.

It's entirely possible AT&T and others have had to do the same.
 
I think it's unfair to assume that +Wil Wheaton didn't read or understand the same article we all read. 
It's his money and if he decides that Verizon is not where he wants to spend it, for what ever reason, that's his choice. 

No proof has come to light that the other carriers are doing the same thing. There's strong reason to believe it's being done, but here's no evidence of it. 
 
I was going to say almost exactly what +Raymond Rodgers said.  The whole boycotting idea is a good one...except where the government is concerned, because it seems they're just going to do what they want regardless of what the "people" think.
 
The government can waste resources with this bullshit but then complains that it had none when it comes to important things like our veterans. It's not a Republican or democratic issue. In my eyes all politicians are assholes. 
 
But the question is: are they doing the same with the others and we just haven't heard/read about it yet?
 
Not trying to pry but just wondering what service provider you should suggest for us to go with! If not any of them must be hotspots or wifi area with google talk/ voice! Just wondering!
 
Anyone think Verizon is the only carrier turning over this data? Willing to bet we haven't heard about the others yet.
 
This isn't Verizon's fault - this is the government. Leaving Verizon won't help you in the end - all the carriers are subject to the same laws. This is a knee-jerk reaction that makes no sense.
 
And people keep wondering why the Patriot Act keeps getting renewed with overwhelming support from both parties!!
 
Ironically when I called the NSA I did not hear, "This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes."
 
"It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks."
 
Unfortunately it just upgraded to a Galaxy S4 and I need unlimited data. 
 
It happens with all the carriers, I'm sure. 
 
There is no such thing as Big Brother. The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. 
 
+Liam Johnson It's not a matter of something to hide. I mean, is it cool if I come over and look thru your house and all of your belongings? Shouldn't matter if you have nothing to hide.
 
I have a prepaid plan with Verizon which I can't get my money back from.  I'm really angry.
 
Think of it this way
a Farmer
a Seed Producer
a Senator

who do you blame here...

So when you find out a farmer
(unknowingly) sold genetically engineered wheat for instance to you refuse to buy his food forever.  when the Seed Seller sold him the seeds then "miraculously" at the same time a senator from his district (seed seller) put in a rider in a bill that seed sellers can't be held liable for more than a Million dollars. the bill of course covers the period right before the farmer got the seeds and will expire later next year. Of course our poor seller says he didn't sell the genetically engineered seeds to anyone..  

so is it

1) verizon

2)    the US Government

3) the person looking at you in the mirror
fault that did nothing when these measures were being put in place?

I know who I would blame...
 
The question should be, Where can you go that this will not happen? I guess now we are all guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of the government. How long before they just start jailing people for their thoughts and opinions.
 
I'm sticking with Verizon, I never expected that a cell phone would have any more privacy than my landline phone which I expected to be tapped at the FBI, CIA or NSAs pleasure anyway. Governments don't like privacy, don't respect privacy and won't give us privacy unless we VOTE them OUT. Verizon isn't really able to control this -- AT&T does the same thing and I fully expect we'll eventually find Sprint & T-Mobile doing it as well.
 
The problem isn't Verizon. This has been going on with nearly every phone company for 7 years. Don't fight the phone company, fight the government who thinks that this is a perfectly legitimate and acceptable way to govern its people. After all, they do derive their power from us. It's high time they be reminded of that.
 
We all knew, or should have known, that the Patriot Act would lead to this sort of thing, but the American people voted the ones who put it in place back into office. Now those currently in office are being blamed for continuing what started 10 years ago? Does anyone really think this is the first time our records have been handed over to the government?
 
It is my understanding that all providers are involved in this, so I don't think it matters which one we choose, as long as the government is tied to it.
 
Do you honestly believe they are the only ones giving the NSA their data?
 
I think you have the blame misplaced. Regarding the article, it looks like this is forced upon them by the government and courts. Also, as secretive as this is, what makes you think that this isn't affecting the other carriers as well? 
 
Verizon is just the one we found out about. In the article it says "It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks. "

Are you going to choose to simply not have a cell phone?
Also, Why are you punishing Verizon for something that they were FORCED to do, and FORCED to hide by the courts?

I'm dissappointed in you +Wil Wheaton for your unusual knee jerk reaction without your usual thoughtfulness.
 
I expect that a similar court order applies to other providers. You are likely not safe from this regardless of who your provider is:

"It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks. It is also unclear from the leaked document whether the three-month order was a one-off, or the latest in a series of similar orders."

EDIT: Sorry for the similar post +Josh Hawley, I agree.
 
I wouldnt switch, its the governments fault. Not Verizon's. And besides, all other carriers will probs be ordered the same thing.
 
Sorry +Wil Wheaton , I find that pretty funny seeing how we're all posting on Google.  If you don't know it's ties to the NSA then the Vz thing shouldn't be a surprise.  Neither should knowing that this has been going on for YEARS.  nothing new here, it's just 1984, move along. :-)
 
+Wil Wheaton Are you eating the ETF? (Do you have a contract?)

I agree with the sentiment, but I think we'd need more than 10,000 (or 20k, or 30k). Verizon's subscriber count is ~115M. 10,000 is less than 0.0001%.
 
Now now, Google has been known to actually say no to the government. Google's NSA connections usually come up in discussions of Chinese hackers and the cooperation is because neither the NSA nor Google is capable of actually stopping them so the two work together to... well, fail, unfortunately but the problem is different than the US spying on US citizens.
 
Uhh, you better buy a string and two cans. This isn't Verizon's doing. Blame the Patriot Act. Verizon is just complying with a court order that I'm sure AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile etc. also receive on a regular basis. Switching carriers will do you NO GOOD!
 
Be glad you have a choice in my state the regulated utilities laws force to use the company in your area, even if another company is available across the street.
 
+Mark Cooper Sorry but this is nonsense, baseless, accusation, there is no evidence that Google provides a user data eed to the NSA. Google fights government warrants for information tooth and nail and releases a transparency report yearly detailing all government attempts to do so. A Vz scandal for Google would send it's stock to zero, Google knows this and zealously guards user privacy of cloud data.

The so-called "ties" are nothing more than rumors brought about by the EFF filing an FOIA after Google said it asked the government for help when it was attacked in 2010 by China's government. This likely was more about asking the NSA to snoop on the People's Liberation Army or specific IP addresses used for the attack then asking it to snoop on Google's own datacenters, that wouldn't make sense.
 
+William Brine you may not know this but Monsanto is all government workers from the white house down to a supreme court judge, so ofcourse they won't go to prison.
 
And when the same court order is revealed from EVERY OTHER phone provider....what then?
 
Will, I was thinking the same thing, but unfortunately I just can't afford the early termination fee. sigh  Can barely afford my bill some months.  Plus, I'm relatively certain, as many people have said, that all the other big companies are doing the same.  
 
To those who say this is not Verizon's fault: if those who are making billions of dollars off of communications tech aren't going to fight these abuses, who is? Big Telco absolutely have the money and legal muscle to oppose this. They chose not to because it was better for their profits to roll over. Yes, We The People could be doing more but corporations should be doing a lot more.
 
Alas you can almost guarantee this is not limited to Verizon
 
+Frank Wetmore II It may be true that they're only doing this to find "bad guys, but using that as a reason to excuse the government for this action pretty much entirely defeats the purpose of having a 4th amendment. If "someone might be doing something bad somewhere" is considered sufficient "probable cause" for wiretapping the entire country then we've pretty much ceded to the government the right to spy on us all the time for no reason.
 
It's been going on since the 1930's. Started with telegrams. Continues with phones. Will happen with holograms.
 
+Wil Wheaton I'm siding with all the people saying you may be jumping the gun a bit. You should wait at least long enough to find out how the other carriers are involved. If you switch to a carrier and it turns out that carrier is also giving the same info to the government but is just better at covering it up, then you've only made the problem worse. Certainly start writing letters to your congress-critter now since they're at least partially responsible, but wait on the rest until you know more about who else was ordered to do the same thing, and how they responded to it.
 
Does anyone truly believe there will ever be a such thing as privacy again? Those days are long gone.
 
Not reading all these other comments but I am sure that it has been said before. It is happening at ALL cell providers not just verizon. Complete in that court order was a gag order. Quiet frankly you should feel safer with verizon because somebody over there is risking jail time to let the public know what is going on.
 
Writing your congress-critter won't help.  The vast majority on them signed off on Patriot Act authorization (and re-authorization) and other laws that make what the NSA is doing completely legal.
Replacing your congress-critter with one willing to vote against these outrageous privacy invasions (rare as such a creature might be) is the only remedy I can see.
 
Useless theater, Wil.  All the carriers are under the same order.
 
Where do you go? AT&T, the company who was sharing their info with the feds as well as throttling their customers? Maybe T-Mobile, whose network is shared with AT&T when you're not on an AT&T owned cell tower? Maybe Sprint - who also shares their CDMA network with Verizon in the same manner as AT&T/T-Mobile's GSM networks.

Let's face it - as much as we'd like to get away from this, Wil, it just ain't gonna happen. The government wants our data, they're going to get it. I'd love it if we could stick it to them by not paying them to screw us over, but the alternatives are just as evil.
 
+David Corley those days are only long gone as long as the people of the US permit them to be. On the anniversary of D-Day its incredibly sad that while so many died to protect our liberties we have surrendered our freedoms not to a common enemy, but to our own governments.
 
Do you somehow think Verizon is the only one?
 
I've never been a customer of Verizon because of what they stand for, politically.  This just adds to the list.
 
Guys are kind of missing the point.  Yes, all the other carriers probably are doing the same thing, but if people leave Verizon in mass because of this, the other carriers will put up a much bigger fight and make it very public as to what is being done and what they are being "forced" to do  behind closed doors by our government instead of blindly complying with these blanket so call top secret warrants...
 
+Greg Nixon   If only we spend our money somewhere else, things will change for the better.  Your faith in corporate America is rather quaint, like the Fourth Amendment.  You cannot expect AT&T to fight this fight for you.
 
It must be nice to have options...
 
For me this is not an issue of Verizon, this is an issue of our government. And let's not fool ourselves; just because we know about this one doesn't mean there aren't all kinds of secret orders for the other carriers. Our digital identities are never ours; they belong to the services that we use. Until we force our government to force organizations to give us control of our data, then our government will try and take that data instead.
 
I admire your actions, but it doesn't matter because they have all the resources under their command. 
Josh D.
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I seriously doubt that Verizon is the only carrier giving this information to the NSA.  Odds are, all carriers are doing this.
 
It's not Verizon that we should be canceling our services from and taking our business elsewhere, it should be the government! They're the ones compelling Verizon to do this with a "secret" court-order. 
 
To those defending the government by saying that it will help stop terrorism... It won't. The tools privacy advocates encourage you to use to protect your privacy are just as available to the bad guys, and they're using them. They're also buying untraceable and disposable phones and taking other steps to safeguard their communication from the government. And the government knows this. The government knows that all of its unethical surveillance will be completely ineffective against anyone who takes some fairly simple steps to protect their privacy. So why do they do it? Good question. But since the only good information they can collect is from the general public who supposedly have "nothing to hide", it does narrow down the possibilities some.

Again, the answer is to force the government to respect our privacy, and also to take steps to protect it ourselves. Especially since it's not just the government who's monitoring our online activity. Encrypt everything. It's easy, and it works.
 
it you think that any other telecommunications company would not comply with a government request you are being naive. Corporations and the government have been doing tit for tat since regulation was enforced
 
Well said +Matt Burns I would be interested in any tips you may have concerning ways to protect privacy.
Van D.
 
I wonder how many people feigning offense at this today, supported the CALEA Act of 1998.  You reap what you sow.
 
This will probably get lost in the shuffle of comments, but take note... I am not convinced moving from Verizon is the best reaction (and for disclosure, I am an AT&T customer currently). Points of interest: 1. The ATF has said that they want a large database of relationships before they discover a suspect so they can quickly narrow down a crime ring or whatever without a large delay in action of a day or two they currently have while agents crunch data. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/04/atf-database/     2. This court order was only about a week after the Boston Marathon bombing (on April 15)  3. Homeland security has frequently noted the need for data sharing among the different Federal level organizations to increase speed of information while it is relevant to ground operations.  4. It sounds like Verizon only released the data after the court order.   SO.... assuming this is going into a database for tracking relationships using mobile phone metadata "its collection would allow the NSA to build easily a comprehensive picture of who any individual contacted, how and when, and possibly from where, retrospectively."    How do you know the other phone companies didn't provide it willingly and Verizon was the hold out that required the court order? Having only one cell network for this kind of operation doesn't give a comprehensive picture. It doesn't make sense that it would be only Verizon unless a specific suspect and ALL of their associates also used only Verizon.  I can almost guarantee that it isn't just Verizon, this is just the only order so far discovered. Most importantly: The companies can't comment. This can only be uncovered with public records, like a court order. If they gave it up willingly with just a request from the NSA, we won't know. 
 
Wil, not sure why you're blaming Verizon for this... IMHO, the sole bearer of the issue here is the NSA.  What should a corporation do when it receives a direct lawful order from a government agency if not comply?
 
+Mike Crews GrooveIP and RedPhone might do it, since they're actually VoIP services that just happen to use your phone number to make the connection. Just using a Google Voice number rather than giving people your actual phone number will help, since it makes the connection through Google and therefore obfuscates the connection log.

+Tim Malone For some free and easy options (on Android, at least): use RedPhone to encrypt confidential calls, TextSecure to encrypt text messages you send as well as those saved on your phone (since lots of other apps have access to them otherwise), and use WiFi instead of mobile broadband whenever possible to give yourself a bit more anonymity and make mining your data a bit more difficult (and also save you money if you don't have an unlimited data plan). When browsing the web, use browser extensions like AdBlock and Ghostery to prevent your activity from being tracked, and use secure http (https) connections whenever possible (which the EFF's HTTPS Everywhere extension can help you with).

Finally, sign up with a VPN service that doesn't keep activity logs. (I use and recommend Private Internet Access, but there are quite a few others.). They're not free, but can be very affordable. And they perform two very important functions. First, they encrypt all of your internet access so no one can snoop on you on an open WiFi network. Second and more importantly to this discussion, they conceal your identity and location when using any form of internet communication, such as some of those mentioned above. For example, I'm currently typing this on my phone in Alabama, but anyone trying to trace my location or identity through my IP address would think I'm currently in Texas. Meanwhile, my desktop is in Toronto. Later tonight, I'll be in London so I can watch some videos on the BBC's iPlayer. Using an anonymous VPN service is probably the single best thing you can do to protect your privacy on the internet, and is particularly important when traveling in countries that don't respect privacy and freedom of speech online, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, and the U.S.

Use an anonymous VPN service, use the internet for all of your communications, use encryption whenever possible, and use some common sense when doing things like logging into websites that might provide personally-identifiable information, and you're effectively immune to any attempts by the NSA or others to track you or record your communications.
Steve G
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With the NSA behind this, I think it's unreasonable to assume that AT&T, Sprint and the rest are not participating.  We need to repeal the patriot act and start electing those that believe in a limited government.
Van D.
 
+Steve G We do need to, but look around you at the country today.  We're not going to. Dronebama even campaigned on it, and then both he and his supporters completely forgot about it.

We need to accept that the writing is on the wall, we're not going back to the good ol' days of America.  We need to prepare for the bad ol' days coming, which are largely already here.

Occupy Wall St found itself monitored and infiltrated from the VERY EARLY days, it was later revealed.  How do you suppose that happened?  All-encompassing nationwide surveillance.

This is the new reality, and the next grass-roots uprising needs to recognize that if they want a chance in hell of preventing their movement from being hijacked just like unifying Occupy the Fed was hijacked and turned into OWS.
 
At least someone from Verizon cared enough to leak it.
 
+John Havard That's exactly the way I feel.  I'd rather be with a company that has employees willing to take the risk and let the people know.  I am sure that all other telecoms in the US are also subject to this order, but nobody at those companies has the balls to even leak the fact that they were ordered to do it.
 
the only real answer is to go off the grid.  which, naturally, makes you a suspect.
 
+Eric Andresen Nope. Read my previous comments. Technology cuts both ways. It's just a matter of using it to protect yourself rather than assuming someone else will do it for you.
 
Whilst this is noble. The order uncovered was only for Verizon, but I think it is certain to other -- still hidden -- orders exist for ALL domestic wireless carriers. I am certain that in we'll find this out for certain in the coming days.

Do you really think that the NSA believed that terrorists only used Verizon?
 
...what we need to replace is not our wireless carriers, but our legislature. 
 
I think it's a little naive to think that Verizon is the only company doing this.  I'd bet dollars to donuts that AT&T, Sprint, etc. are involved as well.
 
I think in a little naive to think that anyone in an intelligence agency gives a shit what any of you are saying.
 
Sad thing is though, if people migrate from Verizon to some other service, how long do you think it will take before they just turn their surveillance to the now more popular service?
 
The NSA admitted today that theyre doing this with every major carrier in the U.S.

So yeah, let's overreact, blame the carriers that gave the info because a federal court forced them to and let's not get mad a the Govt. at all.....
 
Contrary to the insinuations in the Guardian piece, the surveillance involved Verizon wireline business customers on the east coast, not Verizon Wireless (which is owned in part by Vodafone Plc, a British firm) according to other reportage (e.g., New York TImes, Washington Post).  The participation of any wireless carriers is unknown at this point.  As, for that matter, is the participation of any other landline carriers.  The Rumsfeld Conundrum: There are unknown unknowns.

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.  If you want to get pissed off at someone, the NSA and the DOJ are your best bets.
 
Wil, I respect you, but you're getting angry at the wrong people.  It's time to turn your fiery eye of scrutiny on the Administration.  I know you're a big fan... but the communication companies are NOT the problem here.  Don't let your political allegiances cloud your vision.
 
Unfortunately, Google looks to be party to this, too. I'm mad about it and all, but my life is wrapped around Google, Facebook, and Dropbox ("coming soon") pretty tightly. I don't know if I have the grapes to chuck it all. Fortunately (or unfortunately, maybe), I jettisoned Verizon months ago. I kinda wish I had waited and left now, so it could mean something.
 
Won't matter. It's only a matter of time until we find out that we've all been implanted with chips since we were kids.
 
Let's ask a better question:
How is it that hundreds of millions of American's are terrorists or have terrorist ties? 
 
It's unlikely in the extreme that the other major carriers are any different from Verizon, at least as far as NSA is concerned. We just haven't heard about it. Give it a few weeks for the other shoe to drop...
 
Truthfully, the problem is NOT verizon.  Goog tried to stand up to warrantless requests and 17 or 19 were upheld.  The fundamental problem is the government not following it's own procedures... ie asking a judge for a warrant.  They instead strong arm the corps into doing it the "easy way".  Want to know what they do for the "hard way".... look no further than the IRS scandal.
 
Not sure why everyone is surprised by this. Our overbloated government had gone unchecked for too long. Trying to take our constitutional rights, passing laws bills they don't have to follow, one term and done guaranteed retirement packages. This it's just another example of the hypocrisy.
 
I very much doubt that any telco in the world does not so this for the local government, whether they realize it or not. 
 
Back, just after 9/11, I worked for a company that was contracted to the US gov't. Long story short...through the power of technology I was able to "spy" on certain forums using specific software. It updated every night to include Arabic buzzwords and I got a "List" of forums to lurk at. The software checked for the buzzwords and reported itself back to the company, who in turn reported to the gov't.

They aren't looking for whether johnny made potty that day, that would tedious and useless. I "suspect" they have a gov't dept that does this type of espionage as there are terrorist sleeper cells everywhere. And they would have had to get permission from the cell companies.

This of course, is just a theory and not Obama wanting to be snoopy on the comings and goings of JQ public. And Obama isn't the first to do this. How many phones were tapped in previous times I wonder? 

Canada was effected by 9/11 as well as we came together as North Americans. Since I was not able to take the few job offering I rec'd for Afghanistan (TB positive - but not contagious), I'd like to think I did my little bit for us here at home.
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