(Associated Press) Before there was Edward Snowden and the leak of explosive documents showing widespread government surveillance, there was Mark Klein _ a telecommunications technician who alleged that AT&T was allowing U.S. spies to siphon vast amounts of customer data without warrants.
Klein's allegations and the news reports about them launched dozens of consumer lawsuits in early 2006 against the government and telecommunications companies. The lawsuits alleged invasion of privacy and targeted the very same provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that are at the center of the latest public outcry.
That was seven years ago, and the warrantless collection continues, perhaps on an even greater scale, underscoring just how difficult the recently outraged will have in pursuing any new lawsuits, like the one the American Civil Liberties Union filed against the government on Tuesday in New York federal court.
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"I warned whoever I could," Klein said in telephone interview from his home in Alameda, a city across the bay from San Francisco. "I was angry then. I'm angrier now."