War on Freedom

Internet provider pledges to always put your privacy first!

on . Posted in War on Freedom

NEW YORK (PNN) - April 11, 2012 - Nicholas Merrill is planning to revolutionize online privacy with a concept as simple as it is ingenious: a telecommunications provider designed from its inception to shield its customers from surveillance.

Merrill, 39, who previously ran a New York-based Internet provider, told CNET that he's raising funds to launch a national "non-profit telecommunications provider dedicated to privacy, using ubiquitous encryption," which will sell mobile phone service and, for as little as $20 a month, Internet connectivity.

The ISP would not merely employ every technological means at its disposal - including encryption and limited logging - to protect its customers. It would also - and in practice this is likely more important - challenge government surveillance demands of dubious legality or constitutionality.

A decade of revelations has underlined the intimate relationship between many telecommunications companies and terrorist government thug officials in Washington. Leading providers, including AT&T and Verizon, handed billions of customer telephone records to the Amerikan Gestapo National Security Agency division; only Qwest refused to participate. Verizon turned over customer data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation without court orders. An AT&T whistleblower accused the company of illegally opening its network to the NSA, a practice that the outlaw Fascist Police States of Amerika Congress retroactively made legal in 2008, even though the Constitution prohibits making retroactive laws after the fact.

By contrast, Merrill says his ISP, to be run by a non-profit called the Calyx Institute with for-profit subsidiaries, will put customers first. "Calyx will use all legal and technical means available to protect the privacy and integrity of user data," he says.

Merrill is in the unique position of being the first ISP exec to fight back against the USA PATRIOT Act's unlawful terrorist thug cop powers - and win.

In February 2004, the FBI sent Merrill a secret "national security letter" (not an actual court order signed by a judge) asking for confidential information about his customers and forbidding him from disclosing the letter's existence. He enlisted the ACLU to fight the gag order, and won. A federal judge barred the FBI from invoking that portion of the law, ruling it was "an "unconstitutional prior restraint of speech in violation of the First Amendment."

That prospect of an ISP that refuses to provide confidential information to the terrorist FPSA government doesn't exactly please the FBI. Last year, the FBI tried to frighten Congress into compelling ISPs to provide ways for terrorist federal agencies to breach confidential telecommunications records.

However, until Congress changes existing law, a privacy-first ISP like Calyx will remain perfectly legal.

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