U.S. regulators are using their authority to approve telecom mergers and acquisitions to have more influence on the industry by pressuring companies to sign restrictive agreements giving the government power to access information about domestic networks and monitor equipment purchases, observers say. "Each agreement seems to become more restrictive as the government recognizes the benefits of access to networks and databases and as threats to national security increase," said attorney Warren Lavey, who has worked on some of the deals.

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