Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
U.S. sues Sprint over company's wiretap expenses
Federal officials filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that Sprint Communications Inc. overbilled government agencies $21 million for wiretap services.
The lawsuit filed federal court in San Francisco alleges that that subsidiary of Sprint Corp. collected unallowable expenses from the FBI, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and other government agencies while carrying out court-ordered wiretaps and other electronic intercepts of its customers.
Communication companies ordered by courts to intercept customers' communications are allowed to recoup the cost of installing and maintaining the wiretaps.
The lawsuit arises from a dispute between communication companies and the federal government over the expense of installing and maintaining wiretaps. In 1994, lawmakers passed a law requiring communication companies to upgrade their equipment and facilities to ensure they can comply with court orders seeking wiretaps of their customers.
The companies and government tussled for 12 years over who was responsible for those expenses. The Federal Communications Commission settled the dispute in 2006 in favor of the government, ruling that companies can't bill for modifying its equipment and facilities to more efficiently intercept communications.
The Department of Justice claims in its lawsuit that Sprint received payments for such modifications between Jan. 1, 2007, and July 31, 2010.
The DOJ is seeking $63 million, a tripling of its damages it said it's entitled to if a jury finds Sprint filed false claims. A Sprint spokesman said the company denies the allegations. "Under
the law, the government is required to reimburse Sprint for its
reasonable costs incurred when assisting law enforcement agencies with
electronic surveillance," Sprint spokesman John Taylor said. "The
invoices Sprint has submitted to the government fully comply with the
law. We have fully cooperated with this investigation and intend to
defend this matter vigorously." AP
Talk about your expensive upgrades: $21 million for 3 years worth of spying equipment or facilities. And that's just one company. Wonder what the total bill is for all communication companies "to more efficiently intercept communications"?
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/03/03/4863084/us-sues-sprint-over-companys-wiretap.html#storylink=cpy