Re: "recoup the costs of building its own network to allow wiretapping"
> ...I am quite livid that the cost of spying on citizens is being pushed onto those same citizens.
I don't think you quite understand how the money flows in these cases.
First, a decision is made that govt. phone tapping is desirable for catching bad guys. Debatable, but there it is.
Then it has to be paid for. The cost could come directly out of tax monies, but that would slightly reduce spending for other stuff that the authorities would like to purchase, so they instead cleverly made the telcos do it, and fold the cost invisibly into their customer billing totals.
It amounts to a new hidden tax, without any government fingerprints on it.
Since all telcos had to do this, it was deemed 'fair,' but this particular telco apparently wanted to pass the cost back to the Feds. The Fed don't let others play that game, that's their private turf. Hence the prosecution.