AT&T Finally Caves; Agrees To Issue A Transparency Report

from the but-how-transparent-will-it-be? dept

With Verizon agreeing to issue a transparency report concerning government requests for information (catching up with pretty much every major internet company), it was really only a matter of time until the other major telco holdout, AT&T caved. And, indeed, just about 24 hours later, AT&T agreed to issue a similar transparency report. The press release is also the first time that AT&T appears to have made any actual statement concerning the reports of its detailed cooperation with the NSA:
  • Protecting our customers' information and privacy is paramount. Everywhere we operate, we go to great lengths to make sure our customers' data is safe and secure. And we do so in compliance with the laws of the country where the service is provided.
  • When we receive a government request for customer information, whether it's a court order, a subpoena, or other method, we ensure that the request and our response are completely lawful and proper in that country.
  • We work hard to make sure that the requests or orders are valid and that our response to them is lawful. We've challenged court orders, subpoenas and other requests from local, state and federal governmental entities – and will continue to do so, if we believe they are unlawful.
  • We do not allow any government agency to connect directly to our network to gather, review or retrieve our customers' information.
  • We only provide wireless customer location data in response to a court order except in the rare cases in which an emergency compels us to do so. Examples include when law enforcement enlists us to locate a missing child or a kidnapping suspect, and they provide us assurance that a real emergency affecting human life exists.
That fourth bullet point, claiming that the company doesn't allow any government agency to connect directly to the network is simply false. AT&T engineer Mark Klein revealed otherwise years ago. Furthermore, multiple reports have shown how AT&T has employees embedded directly with law enforcement to make sifting through customer info more efficient. Oh, and then there's the issue of Snowden documents revealing how the big telcos appeared to voluntarily reach out to the NSA in the wake of September 11th, seeking to provide more info on their customers to the government.

Just the fact that it's taken over six months for AT&T to even remotely say anything on this, and that they finally make this announcement just as everyone's disappearing for the holidays, suggests how "seriously" the company actually takes this issue.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Dec 20th, 2013 @ 4:41pm

    Not to mention bullet point #2 where they fail to mention that it took what amounts to a Presidential pardon of their illegal handing over of information when given a post it note from the FBI to keep them from being culpable.

    Can't believe they issued a statement that is demonstrably false. Must have been written by someone at the NSA.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 4:47pm

    'work hard to make sure that the requests or orders are valid'

    not as hard as they work to stop issuing statements about what requests the NSA etc want about customers to customers!

    as for the challenging of court orders etc, prove it!!

    you're so full of shit AT&T, that without proof, no one believes a thing you say!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 4:59pm

    I don't believe a word that AT&T is saying. As a customer of AT&T, I've experienced their unconstitutional spying first hand. I've had fake text messages sent to my phone, that appeared to originate from my friend's phone number. I've also had man-in-the-middle attempts made during TextSecure key exchanges.

    I'm kind of glad this happened to me though. It opened my eyes to the fact it doesn't matter how much encryption I use on a cellphone, because chances are the underlying hardware, firmware, and device drivers are probably compromised with closed-source proprietary backdoors.

    I was a fool to think I could secure my communications on a backdoored cellphone device, by using encryption. If anyone doesn't think cellphones are backdoored, please ask the leaders of Brazil, Germany, and Mexico what their opinions on the matter are.

     

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  4.  
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    Rapnel (profile), Dec 20th, 2013 @ 5:09pm

    Re:

    And this is the single most absolute reason the cell phone gig is pure bullshit cuntery.

    A smartphone is a pretty good piece of computing gear and I don't have a say? I can't get your piece of bullshit crap app off much less put up a firewall of any comms on it?

    Fuck you AT&T et al. Fuck you.

    Plug the NSA behind that and .. it's all gone.

    All those folks that have zero tech handling experience - owned.

    My country is disgusting.

    Immunity. Suck. my. god. damned. cock. in. hell.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 6:00pm

    We do not allow any government agency to connect directly to our network

    They force us. And anyway, it's not in this country. It's undersea cables just 12.01 miles offshore. That's international waters. Besides, they pay good money to not say anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

    "We do not allow any government agency to connect directly to our network to gather, review or retrieve our customers' information."

    No need to when indirect connections work fine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Xenophorge (profile), Dec 20th, 2013 @ 9:10pm

    Will how much profit they made be in this report?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 20th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

    They don't see it as their customer's data. It's AT&T's data now that you put it on their network.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    ring ring, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 12:38pm

    annoying calls

    I often wonder if those annoying sales phone calls are made, hoping many of us *69 to see what the number was and we get charged for that. Do you think that too is another of their scams? I do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Other Method

    "When we receive a government request for customer information, whether it's a court order, a subpoena, or other method..."

    Yeah, "other method", like a Post-It note.
    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/01/fbi-replaced-legal-process-post-it-notes-obtain-ph

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 22nd, 2013 @ 11:50am

    Are they serious is this not a gag of some kind?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 7:34am

    The only reason they are doing this is because their shareholders wanted this released, they failed to listen to their customer base when the same thing was requested.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Mike Raffety (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:35pm

    "We do not allow any government agency to connect directly to our network"

    "We do not allow any government agency to connect directly to our network"

    Of course not, there's a cable in between!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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