Ma Bell Would Also Like To Make NSA Tap Evidence Disappear

from the go-away-now,-nothing-to-see-here dept

Last week, the Justice Department got a bit upset when the EFF tried to file evidence concerning the claims that AT&T gave a direct line to the NSA, so they could sort through all the internet traffic running across AT&T lines. This was even though the EFF had filed the documents under seal. Of course, late last week some of the information was released publicly as the whistleblower involved made a public statement about what he knew was going on at AT&T. With that info coming out, it appears that it’s not just the government who would like all of this evidence to completely disappear, but also AT&T… who has now asked the judge to return a bunch of the evidence filed against it and ban the EFF from referencing any of the “highly confidential” documents. Of course, if anything, this would seem to support that AT&T is hiding something. In the meantime, Narus, the company whose software was supposedly being used to monitor all of the internet traffic, is desperately trying to distance itself from the situation, claiming they just sell the software, and have no clue whatsoever what their customers use it for.

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Comments on “Ma Bell Would Also Like To Make NSA Tap Evidence Disappear”

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Ultradave says:


Narus’s claims that they are unaware of how their customers use the software is total bullshit — I work for a software company and believe me, we know *exactly* what our customers do with our software — given that all of them call on a daily basis to request tweaks, new features, bitch and whine that it does not do what they want, etc. I am sure this is the same for every other software company on the planet.

Patrick Mullen says:

If you think this is anything new, or that AT&T is the only carrier involved, you are kidding yourself. Think the Govt. has agreements with Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Google Mail for access to their servers? You better believe it.

I would make a wager that they already have the keys to Skype encription also. I doubt there is anything out there they don’t have access to, and if they couldn’t get access, they would shut it down.

Personally, I don’t think thats a bad thing.

Patrick Mullen says:

Re: Re: You don't?

I don’t, and it has nothing to do with Bush. All this was going on a long time before GWB became president, and will go on a long time after GWB leaves office. Personally, I do believe the govt. does need to have access to communications, as there are people out there that we do need to watch. There is concern of course with who gets watched and why, but lawful intercept does have its place.

Grendel should have killed Beowolf says:

Re: Re: Re:4 You don't?

Newsflash. Freedom is an Illusion. It’s there to keep us happy and to keep us bringing money into the owners of this country. Ever see the matrix? watch it sometime and take notes. Freedom is just that, an illusion so the powerful individuals out there can get what they want from us. “Politicians are here just to make us think that we have a choice. Sorry you don’t”-George Carlin

txjump says:

Re: Re: You don't?

You don’t think it’s a bad thing, cause we all know the Bush Administration doesn’t do bad things :-/

Patrick is right. Whether we like it or not, this has nothing to do w/ Republicans or Democrats. It has everything to do w/ the fact that its our government.

The NSA isn’t party run and neither is AT&T, nor any other American telecom.

I really wish people would stop blaming parties. Read some history, learn some politcal science. If you dont like the way your country works, do something besides just voting for your party.

lil'bit says:

You don't?

We already know that all of the 9/11 highjackers were known to US Intelligence agencies and that questions had been raised as to their purpose – flight schools, etc. This administration ignored the warnings.

Why should I believe they are only tapping the phones, etc. of suspected terrorists? More likely, they are targeting only those people they want to investigate and ignoring the terrorists, if any exist in this country. After all, it’s pretty easy to claim that your illegal efforts have successfully stopped attacks when all the evidence is classified and there is no oversight.

I would gladly fill you in on the terrorist attack I stopped last week with two pieces of stale bread and a goldfish, but the information is all classified as the investigation is on-going, so I can’t say anything about it.

Sean says:

The NSA can do whatever it likes

Even if AT&T didn’t cooperate with the NSA, they would still get the information that they need. AT&T’s cooperation just makes it easier and gives them an office to work out of. You’d be absolutely shocked at what they’re capable of from a technology standpoint. There isn’t a communications device out there that they don’t know how to eavesdrop on, with or without a physical connection.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The NSA can do whatever it likes

You are a Grade-A fucking idiot.

There is a whole lot more they can accomplish with cooperation than without it.

With regard to those magical eavesdropping devices you mention:

How many can they sneak into a major peering point or internal routing paths without detection vs how many could they install with AT&T’s cooperation?

How effectively can they monitor and filter data without knowledge of AT&T’s infrastructure vs having all of that information and constant access to updates as AT&T expands or reconfigures its network?

In conculusion, AT&T’s cooperation makes the breadth of the eavesdropping greater, the analysis of the gathered data easier, and the cost of implementing the program much lower and therefore much easier to justify.

If you do not understand these rather simple points, then perhaps you are simply too stupid to have a “right” to vote.

Grade-A Fucking Idiot says:

You're so smart

Someday I hope to be as smug and reactionary as you are. Then I could throw a temper tantrum as effectively as you do when someone makes an innocent statement on a message board.

I never said that AT&T didn’t make it easier, in fact I said, “AT&T’s cooperation just makes it easier and gives them an office to work out of” I’m sure you just ignored that part though.

I’m sure you’re convinced that you’re a technical genius with a vast never ending knowledge of everything relating to data and voice transfer, therefore I’m sure you feel justified in your unbalanced mind to personally attack me based on points that I never argued.

I simply made a statement (not an argument Einstein), that the NSA has technologies that make it possible for them to eavesdrop without the support of AT&T (or another phone company for that matter). OBVIOUSLY it’s easier if they can tap right into the pipe at it’s source…but it’s not necessary for the NSA to get the information they want.

I’m not imagining these “magical eavesdropping devices,” My assessment is based on my limited exposure, observation, and discussion with some techs while working in an NSA tech center. They have technology that would blow your mind. The fact you refuse to believe it’s true, doesn’t mean that it isn’t.

txjump says:

since when?

did it not matter who passed the legislation? isn’t that the premis of who we decide to put into office, the kind of legislation they vote for?

or do you just say “he/she is a democrat, must be perfect”. maybe you should start looking at the framework the people you vote for put into place. that goes for any voter if they are going to complain that someone else is actually using the framework their politicians put into place!

and the point of all this wasnt political. it was about a nonpartisan, quasi-governmental agency and a publicly held company working together in a controversial maner.

txjump says:

restating your opinion is not very effective

and who set the stage for this to even become an issue?

in other words, given the opportunity to justfy the authorization, the democrats would have done the same thing. they obviously thought they might need it sometime in the future so they put out there. no party tries to pass legislation they dont intend to use at some point.

both parties are responsible. both parties run the government. if you dont like it, do something about it. join a group that lobbies, run for office somewhere, become active in your party and let your politicians know you dont want legislation in place that can in your words “be abused”.

Todd Boyle (user link) says:

Laws are meant to change

Despots always want us to believe that their institutions are permanent, and bigger than any individual etc. Meanwhile laws change constantly, benefiting um, somebody out there.

Your traffic is visible, get over it and work instead to expose the communications of powerholders. Shouldn’t the conversations of lawmakers and CEOs be visible to all of their stakeholders? Use your common sense.

One of the big surprises of the dotcom era was that most people didn’t give a damn about privacy; witness the complete apathy towards cryptography etc. We’ve been over this 1000 times, remember predictions nobody would use hotmail? The fight over PGP which thenn nobody even bothered to use. Ebay, Google, etc.

There is no authentic voter base for privacy. Banks and governments have worked for generations to divide us and spread distrust so that we would not develop indigenous reputation. Why do we need banks and governments for our dealings in contract, at all? Think about it. They need US. We dont need intermediaries, whatsoever. Even money itself is obsolescent. We should have had nonquantified multiparty barter by now, i.e. multiparty EDI or webservices auction. The dotcoms were building it in 1999-2001 when the financial markest woke up and jerked the funding.

Let em snoop. Focus on snooping the congress, staffs and lobbyists.


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