Leaked Verizon Memo About NSA Data Requests Says Almost Nothing

The Verizon Communications Inc. logo is seen at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.,
The Verizon Communications Inc. logo is seen at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012. The 2012 CES trade show, which runs through Jan 13, features more than 2,700 global technology companies presenting consumer tech products and is expected to draw over 140,000 attendees. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Knowing that The Guardian was going to report that Verizon had been secretly handing customers' data to the government, the telecom giant decided to give "no comment" to the newspaper with the bombshell scoop. It turns out that the Verizon is playing its cards so close to its chest, it won't even confirm nor deny anything to its own employees.

Late Wednesday, the British newspaper reported on a secret court order for Verizon to give the National Security Administration access to three-months worth of customers' call records. Having caused a flurry of subsequent coverage, Verizon felt compelled to issue an internal memo on the matter, which The Wall Street Journal got its hands. You can read it below.

The statement to employees managed to comment on the Guardian story... while not really commenting at all. The company assures workers that it would comply with and keep secret such a court order, if given one. But it won't say if it had gotten one.

You may have seen stories in the news about a top secret order Verizon allegedly received to produce certain calling information to the U.S. government.

We have no comment on the accuracy of The Guardian newspaper story or the documents referenced, but a few items in these stories are important. The alleged court order that The Guardian published on its website contains language that:

  • compels Verizon to respond;
  • forbids Verizon from revealing the order’s existence; and
  • excludes from production the “content of any communication … or the name, address, or financial information of a subscriber or customer.”

Verizon continually takes steps to safeguard its customers’ privacy. Nevertheless, the law authorizes the federal courts to order a company to provide information in certain circumstances, and if Verizon were to receive such an order, we would be required to comply.

Nevertheless, Americans are concerned about their data and privacy, and are taking it out an Verizon on social media.



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