The big telcos may have agreed to turn over hundreds of millions of phone records to the NSA, but Comcast has a message for the feds' super snooper: It will refuse to turn over customer records if asked. And other cable companies stand with Comcast.
So reports USA Today.
Comcast, the country's largest operator, won't "provide the federal government access to customer (video, Internet or phone calling) records, or the ability to monitor customer communications," unless served with a court order or search warrant, spokeswoman D'Arcy Rudnay told USA today.
Time Warner and Cox also told the newspaper that they would not turn over records, unless ordered to by a court or given a search warrant.
Cable operators say they don't need to give records to the federal snoops because the the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 says that they first have to get subscriber consent before collecting "personally identifiable information" or disclosing it to third parties.
Even if they get a court order, the act notes, they have to notify their customers, and allow those customers to contest the order, if the court order involved video programming.
Subscribers to satellite services have the same safeguards.
Would Comcast have turned over the records if it didn't have the 1984 law on its side? It's hard to know. After all, there are many who say that when the telcos turned over the records to the NSA, they violated the law.
Either way, though, it's good to see some providers stand up the NSA.