As Taxpayers Foot the Bill, Phone Companies Make Big Bucks Charging Uncle Sam to Wiretap Customers

Phone companies don't do anything for free, including allowing the government to wiretap their customers.  According to CBS, phone companies have made government spying a multi-million-dollar market funded by US taxpayers, many of whom are obviously customers at companies like AT&T and Verizon.

Charging Uncle Sam $775 per wiretap connection, plus a $500 wiretapping monthly rate, Verizon has the steepest fee, but A&T is not far behind.  A wiretap with that carrier will cost the government (taxpayers) a $325 "activation fee," plus $10 a day for maintenance. Smaller companies, like Cricket and US Cellular, offer more affordable, $250 wiretaps.

CBS adds:

Meanwhile, email records like those amassed by the National Security Agency through a program revealed by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden probably were collected for free or very cheaply. Facebook says it doesn't charge the government for access. And while Microsoft, Yahoo and Google won't say how much they charge, the American Civil Liberties Union found that email records can be turned over for as little as $25.

Thanks to phone companies sent to Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) last year, we know a bit more about phone companies, including the estimated $24 million AT&T received in wiretapping fees from 2007-2011. Despite high fees, Verizon claims to let some wiretaps go for free, and collected between $3 million and $5 million a year during the same time. 

Read more at CBS


Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ }}