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Foreign ownership in Verizon and T-Mobile prevent them from contributing to U.S. surveillance program

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Foreign ownership in Verizon and T-Mobile prevent them from contributing to U.S. surveillance program
According to a report published Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, Verizon and T-Mobile cannot turn over data directly to the U.S. surveillance program run by the NSA because both have foreign corporate parents. Verizon is 45% owned by Britain's Vodafone (with the remainder 55% owned by Verizon Communications), and T-Mobile is owned by Germany's Deutsche Telecom.

Despite this, a U.S. official told the Journal that while the pair cannot directly turn over data, they still might indirectly do so. Most of the calls that are carried over Verizon and T-Mobile, do eventually run through U.S. networks run by carrier's that do participate in the NSA program. The latter agency is allowed access to information on calls running through the mobile pipelines of AT&T and Sprint.

Whether or not Verizon is prevented from sharing its data with the U.S. government, the NSA has gone to Verizon with a secret court order demanding the call logs on millions of phone conversations. Other companies involved in the program are said to include Google, Facebook and Apple even though they all deny taking part in the program.

source: WallStreetJournal

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