Democrats & Liberals Archives

AT&T and NSA: A match made in hell.'

In January 2006, a class action lawsuit by EFF claiming that AT&T violated both federal and state laws when they allowed the government to spy on citizens through AT&Ts switched network. What was interesting about this and the subsequent request for an injunction to force AT&T from continuing this practice while the lawsuit is pending is the secrecy surrounding the briefs and the filings.

Documents are under seal surrounding this case. How common of a practice is this, the act of sealing documents from public view for a case that surrounds to private organizations? The lawsuit is between a private organization EFF and a publicly-traded company (AT&T). Why are they sealing documents?

Some of the sealed documents are affidavits from former AT&T employees. One of those former employees, Mark Klein, a communications technician, in an affidavit, stated that he witnessed, first-hand, how NAA officials funded a special technology project that had AT&T build a special, secret room for the sole purpose of routing all of AT&T’s overseas traffic (data, phone, etc…) through a data-mining server, before the traffic reached its intended destination. This data mining package is actually a semantic traffic analyzer , a series of hardware and software captured and parsed through eons and eons of data looking for something that the NSA deemed necessary. The semantic traffic analyzer called STA 6200 was produced and developed by a company called Narus.

On April 7th, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a federal injunction to stop AT&T from continuing the surveillance practice (even though they can claim they are merely following orders). Shortly after hearing news of the lawsuit a bunch of us start researching what this Big Brother machine really is. This Narus STA 6400 machine must be something special. Because as quick as you can say CHINA LOVES GOOGLE, Google removes all traces of the Narus STA 6400 from its cache. Literally, one day you can find a couple pages of info on this system (through live links and Google cache), then gone. You can’t find it. Same goes for Yahoo!

But really, what’s there to hide; this IS America. Isn’t it?

All of this poses an interesting question: do you own your conversation or not? For when you work for a company, most employees sign a form indicating that they understand that the facilities provided by the company (computer, phone, email, etc…) are property of the company and that the employee does not hold any rights to the information flowing through the services. But when you are at home and you place a phone call or send an email from a service that is considered private and that you personally pay for, is that data yours or the company that you use? For if, when you place a call and that call is routed through AT&T switches, you may not know that AT&T is tapping into those lines and allowing government surveillance to take place.

That is a scary and sad commentary on the state of America as it exists today. For as citizens, we genuflect to the great mass of government oppression under the veil of blanket safety. If it were large corporations that were having their phones and emails tapped by the government, I’d be hard pressed to believe that those large corporations would just take it. No, those companies wouldn’t take it. They would fight the government from tapping their phone lines. Those companies would use all necessary power (lobbyists, lawyers and bribery) to stop such an invasion.

But no, we Americans pull the flag over our heads and think that because we say we’re proud to be an American that that is enough. We let this government run roughshod over our freedoms and liberties in the pursuit of the unattainable: the fountain of life.

Posted by john trevisani at May 8, 2006 4:26 PM
Comments
Comment #146297

While I have no problem with the Government spying on non citizens. A machine can’t tell the difference. It’ll spy on all calls made by anyone.
If the government wants to monitor overseas calls made by non citizens then it needs to have wiretaps on their phones and not some catch all machine.
They start by using the machine to monitor ALL overseas calls then move on to monitoring ALL calls. Overseas or not. And the machine will help them do it faster than the wiretap.

Posted by: Ron Brown at May 8, 2006 5:01 PM
Comment #146324

This is truly scary. I am wondering if someone can tell me why all newscasters are saying that the wiretapping is approved of by most americans and that this will never be brought up as a real issue, even if the dems start making investigations into other matters. I am wondering why we keep agreeing that all the wire tapping was between domestic and overseas communication when the first series of wiretapping that was found was focused on Quaker and peace groups here in the USA? Why aren’t citizens and the media focusing on that and why are we just beleiving Bush and his people when they keep saying “only overseas communication.” We already know that is not true. Now, we have this marriage between the pentagon and CIA coming and we turn into a real police state? soon it will be too late to turn things back.

Posted by: judye at May 8, 2006 6:44 PM
Comment #146353
I am wondering if someone can tell me why all newscasters are saying that the wiretapping is approved of by most americans and that this will never be brought up as a real issue, even if the dems start making investigations into other matters.

judye,

It is because Americans today are soft. They are not willing to do what it takes to force the Government to uphold the U.S. Constitution. They would rather give up their rights in exchange for possibly a little bit of security against the boogyman (I’m not even sure who the boogyman is. Is it some foriegn agent or is it our government itself?) It is truly Americans making a deal with the devil. What we give up in rights far outweighs what we get in security.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at May 8, 2006 8:03 PM
Comment #146405

Shhh!!! Ma Bell is listening. I use AT&T for my internet connection. I’m being eaten by carnivore.

My aunt used to work for Ma Bell in the 60’s. Part of her job was line quality. She routinely listened in on conversations continously. She reported any criminal activity she heard. If you think the government or big business believe in your privacy, guess again.
The only conversations that are private are ones that are done in the middle of nowhere and covered by noise. And if your being tracked even that’s not private. Paranoia anyone?

Posted by: gergle at May 8, 2006 11:47 PM
Comment #146412

BTW… anything that is digitized is easily trackable, encryptionis the only way to avoid it being monitored, and that is difficult to accomplish unless the recipient also has the key to decode. Instead of the right to bear arms, the right to encryption is needed these days. No matter how big your gun is the government will always have bigger ones and more of them. I think that part of the bill of rights is quaint, but useless.

Posted by: gergle at May 9, 2006 12:05 AM
Comment #146415

How would an every day common person stop big goverment from doing anything?
We have voted in and for another party in congress to fight these problems for us, and they are doing nothing.They do not investigate
these claims or search in any way to see if there is something unlawful going on.
Politicans only seem to care about themselfs. They vote themselfs raises and then can’t find a way to fund programs ,like education , social security, health insurance. Yet they make sure they have all these things and are paid very high salaries.
It is a good thing elections are coming up.At least we can vote these free loaders out and vote in some new blood in Washington.These people forget they do not own the goverment.
First we need some goverment watchdogs dogs.
What happen to the Ken Stars of Washington?
Clinton couldn’t poop without being investigated.

Posted by: suzieq at May 9, 2006 12:16 AM
Comment #146421

I remember when It was the Government we feared. No longer, today its the Corporations as they do not have the Constitution to get in their way. I dont think it makes a difference which party is voted into power because neither the Repubs nor Dems have this issue as part of their core agenda. This issue should be at the forefront of the next election.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 9, 2006 1:17 AM
Comment #146440

Our government is a pig that feeds on the slop of public paranoia. The media is a large drain pipe of political sludge forever dumping it’s dillusional waste onto the living room floors of millions of Americans everynight at 6 o’clock. Together they form the collective opinions of the blind, deaf and dumb nine to fivers wallowing in the lies of our leaders. “Let me waste food, fuel and resources with my big houses and shiny cars, put my kids in fancy schools, sprawling gated communities and you can do whatever you want Mr. Bush.” Wake up! Slavery’s back and it’s got a new pair of shoes.

Posted by: Scott Burgoyne at May 9, 2006 6:21 AM
Comment #146447

gergle:


BTW… anything that is digitized is easily trackable, encryptionis the only way to avoid it being monitored…

i would offer that even if you, as a private citizen, decided to purchase an encryption mechanism to attach to your phone line. And then distribute the encryption mechanism to your friends and family to create an encrypted network of friends so you can speak freely over telephone lines, that the government will come down on you as quick as lightning.

Police state coming? i think it’s been here for quite some time.

Posted by: john trevisani at May 9, 2006 7:33 AM
Comment #146448

judye asked:

I am wondering if someone can tell me why all newscasters are saying that the wiretapping is approved of by most americans and that this will never be brought up as a real issue, even if the dems start making investigations into other matters.

JayJay had it right, sweetie - and the reason is that, for over 25 Years, Conservatives have been fighting to destroy adequate Public Education in America. Ronald Reagan actually tried to do away with the Department Of Education entirely, and when that failed, they have simply Underfunded both Public Education, PBS, and the NEA. For a reason: they want to (and have been successful at) creating an easily-manipulated Dumbed Down monkeymass of Consumer Robots, who get their (Wonder)Bread at WalMart, their Circuses at NASCAR, and their Information from Faux “News.”

Double-plus Good, eh?

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 9, 2006 7:38 AM
Comment #146460

“They would rather give up their rights in exchange for possibly a little bit of security against the boogyman (I’m not even sure who the boogyman is. Is it some foriegn agent or is it our government itself?)”

Just a few years ago, the boogyman was guns. Remember how Americans gave up that right for a “little bit of security?”
Giving up rights for a false sense of security is hardly new so get used to it.
There’s more to come.

Posted by: kctim at May 9, 2006 9:51 AM
Comment #146496

kctim,
Huh? Gave up what right?

John Trevisani,
I know there was some talk about making certain types of encryption illegal a few years back, or providing back doors for law enforcement. I don’t know what happened there. The argument was that criminals could hide rom the FBI back then.

The sad truth is that you can’t hide in the world today, unless you are willing to live in the mountains like a caveman in areas where you have friends willing to help hide you. The only other way is to be completely phoney and keep a low profile.

Posted by: gergle at May 9, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #146509

Gergle
2nd or 4th, no difference. Americans were/are too willing to give up rights in order to get that false sense of security.
Dem or Rep, the goal is the same.
Control.

Posted by: kctim at May 9, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #146510

Gergle
2nd or 4th, no difference. Americans were/are too willing to give up rights in order to get that false sense of security.
Dem or Rep, the goal is the same.
Control.

Posted by: kctim at May 9, 2006 12:30 PM
Post a comment

HOW TRUE!
And the American people are too willing to let them get that control.

Posted by: Ron Brown at May 9, 2006 12:32 PM
Comment #146561

I grew up in the aftermath of the drug war of the sixties, and it was common knowledge that the only speech that was private was conducted face-to-face. Discussion of illegal activities over the phone was stupid and still is. While I may have been rooting for the other side then, I understood that electronic communication is at best semi-private. Now we have another situation which illustrates this fact. The lesson should be if you are buying drugs or talking to terrorists over the phone, beware.

Given the fact that terrorists are communicating with citizens and residents in the US, and the fact that these terrorists have attacked us and have stated that they will try again, I cannot see a reason to object to surveillance of international calls. I feel certain that analysts are not poring over comminiques about what American residents had for dinner or whose comming to Thanksgiving this year. I would suggest that if you do not want to target your conversations for special attention, do not discuss assassinating anyone, purchasing items by kilos, or blowing up buildings, bridges or planes. Oh, and do not offer aid or succor to terrorists.

Posted by: goodkingned at May 9, 2006 3:21 PM
Comment #146571

Ummm Kctim,
I don’t exactly believe that either admendment has been repealed. Let’s not climb so far out on the limb that we break it off.

As to the right to bear arms and form a militia, I recently was talking to a friend who is a gun nut and card carrying NRA member. He informed me that Canada had banned gunned possession. I said, “What?” I happened to have access to a computer in my car and googled canada and guns and the only new laws were registration requirements. Oops! I hate to inform you that gun ownership is still legal here.
My earlier point was that the admendment was about the Revolution and the right to rise up against your government, in the course of human events let’s say, which is a fantasy long since past it’s prime.

The fourth admendment is still in effect, it just is ignored by many authoritarian figures, when caught some of them go to jail or at least are asked to resign and go down in history as failed Presidencies.

A local lawyer has a TV show where he is fond of saying while the bill of rights acknowledges our rights, most of them are not self actuating. You must assert them.

Posted by: gergle at May 9, 2006 3:55 PM
Comment #146581

goodkingned,

Actually with technology, having a phone in your house is putting a microphone in it. It is quite easy to actuate the phone without losing your dial tone or entering the house. I presume it is possible with cell phones as well. I know a friend who occasionally calls me accidently and I am able to listen to what ever conversation he is having until he realizes he has pushed a button. Also it is even possible to listen to conversations by putting a laser on a window.

No one, I believe, is opposed to monitoring terrorists. That is never been the issue irregardless of the Rabid Republican political spin. Nixon monitored political enemies, as did Reagan (if you don’t remember: what he did to peace activists including churches opposed to the Contras), and the fear, and likely conclusion is, so is Bush. There doesn’t seem to be any other reason to avoid FISA.

Posted by: gergle at May 9, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #146585

Regarding the 2nd admendment, I would have to say that the camera and the internet have usurped the gun.

If you wish to rise up against your government today you do it with video and mass demonstration. Nixon was afraid of the masses, just like congress is of the Latinos.

Even in China, Tiananmin is the means by which a revolution will occur. Guns can delay the inevitable , but not stop it.

Posted by: gergle at May 9, 2006 4:19 PM
Comment #146591

goodkingned:
With regards to tracking drug dealers and wiretaps, there were warrants that were required to do so.

In this case, the NSA are going on marching orders from the President himself. And el-Presidente has already declared that warrants aren’t his style. So he’ll use whatever on whomever he deems a threat.

Do you still feel that this is the price that we should pay?

Posted by: john trevisani at May 9, 2006 4:34 PM
Comment #146601

Gergle
Yep, you disagree with it and want it to mean something different, so registration and the such is fine with you. Just as long as you feel safer about all the “gun nuts” out there.
Others disagree that the 4th guarantees the absolute right to privacy. Afterall, when the 4th was written, they had no idea that we would be able to communicate as we do let alone internationally.
Nothing wrong with listening in to catch the bad guys is there? Makes a bunch of people feel safer you know.
Maybe we should require people to pass background checks and be registered before they are allowed to use a form of communication. You know, assume they are guilty until they prove they are innocent, as we now do with the right to keep and bear arms.

“Regarding the 2nd admendment, I would have to say that the camera and the internet have usurped the gun”

Well, that is your opinion and no matter how foolish and naive it is, it is your right to be that way.
But, that does not mean the right should be given up or violated in any way.

“If you wish to rise up against your government today you do it with video and mass demonstration”

Today, yes. But what about tomorrow, when govt owns the airwaves and demonstrations are illegal? Too bad you were all too willing to give up your 2nd Amendment rights yesterday huh.

You see, you justify the violations to the 2nd because it makes you feel safer and others justify the violations to the 4th because it makes them feel safer.
Because of this type of thinking, we now have two more rights that are being trampled.

If you’re only willing to fight for some of your rights, you’ll loose them all.

Posted by: kctim at May 9, 2006 5:11 PM
Comment #146666

Do you own any guns kctim? I suggest you go tommorrow and start a revolution with it. See how far you get. There is no gun control in Iraq. Did that stop the overthrow of Saddam?

I have nothing against gun ownership. I frankly think registration is a waste of time, at least as it is performed. I’m a music nut. That wasn’t a slander of my friend.

Why have you surrendered your rights? I haven’t surrendered mine. I’m just a realist.

A pistol isn’t much defense against a Blackhawk or B-1. My point is that the 2nd admendment afficionados simply are slightly detached from reality, if they believe their shotguns are going to protect them from tyranny.

The 4th Admendment has been assaulted since the time of Jefferson. It exists, but in court rooms, not day to day life. It never has.

Posted by: gergle at May 9, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #146702

>>I feel certain that analysts are not poring over comminiques about what American residents had for dinner or whose comming to Thanksgiving this year.
Posted by: goodkingned at May 9, 2006 03:21 PM

Where’s the link for this assurance?

How about a business deal that has some finesse requirements? What if the idiot NSA operative listening in owns stock in a rival company?

How about someone exposing their sexual orientation to a friend or family member? What if that person is known by the NSA idiot listening in?

What if…what if…why is it the governments business what I’m talking about, even if it has nothing to do with terrorism? And, why should I care that my government (of the people, by the people and for the people) illegally taps wireless communications? BECAUSE IT IS NOT THE RIGHT THING TO DO!!!

Posted by: Marysdude at May 9, 2006 11:12 PM
Comment #146782

Gergle
“Why have you surrendered your rights? I haven’t surrendered mine. I’m just a realist”

I guess its just how you choose to look at it. I haven’t surrendered any of my 4th Amendment rights such as Paul speaks of here, have you?
Violations to the 2nd and 4th go hand in hand. To whine about losing one and not caring about the other is wrong.
Personally, I happen to believe both amendments have been molested and that we the people should fight for them. Unfortuantly, I’m in the minority.

“My point is that the 2nd admendment afficionados simply are slightly detached from reality, if they believe their shotguns are going to protect them from tyranny”

And I believe the exact opposite. You point a camera and I’ll point a gun and we will see who the criminal or soldier is wary of and which one he feels he can abuse. I believe anybody who does not believe it will take equal force to protect us from tyranny is basically a coward and does not believe in our Constitution or our country.
But guess what, WE ARE BOTH WRONG!
It is your method and my method combined that the govt fears. It is your willingness to march and create your peaceful unrest and my willingness to act when it gets rough, that the govt fears.
Fighting with each other has done nothing but put us in the position we now find ourselves in and the govt does not fear us.
That is why I believe in ALL of our rights and that the only way to keep those rights is by making the govt fear “The People” once again.

Posted by: kctim at May 10, 2006 9:24 AM
Comment #146789

Oh my God!!!

I actually agree with you kctim! Wow! I never woulda thought it could be!!!:)

Posted by: gergle at May 10, 2006 9:57 AM
Comment #197264

fluoride in the water and implants dropped in chemtrails are making most people submissive. we can fight back with orgone and orgonite.
www.orgonite.info

Posted by: kile at December 1, 2006 2:22 PM
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