Two class action lawsuits, targeting Verizon for their role in voluntarily providing information on what numbers hundreds of thousands of customers called since 9/11 has been filed in response to the recently publicized National Security Agency program of gathering telephone call information from major phone service providers.
One suit, initiated by Daryl Hines of Beaverton Oregon, seeks $1000 per customer of Verizon Northwest (about a million people) plus $1 billion in punitive damages.
Verizon is one of three companies which cooperated with the NSA in its effort to gather information to track calls from potential terrorists to known terrorists outside of the United States. The other companies involved are Bellsouth and AT&T. Qwest was solicited for the same information and refused to provide it without a warrant.
A second suit was filed this past Friday against Verizon in federal court in New York. It seeks $5 billion in damages as a class action suit and demands that Verizon cease providing customer information to the government.
In the wake of the suits against Verizon, it’s likely that similar suits will be filed against the other companies involved in the next few weeks, since the lawyers clearly sense some deep pockets ready to be picked.