Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How deep does the "watching" go?

I might have realized the earlier rumblings were not the entire story, but merely the tip of the iceburg. Months ago it was "we only listen to phone conversations in which one party is outside the United States." Then it was "we are creating a database of phone calls made & received within the United States."

Will we ever get the full story?

From Wired this morning:
Former AT&T technician Mark Klein is the key witness in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's class-action lawsuit against the company, which alleges that AT&T illegally cooperated in an illegal National Security Agency domestic-surveillance program.

In this recently surfaced statement, Klein details his discovery of an alleged surveillance operation in an AT&T office in San Francisco, and offers his interpretation of company documents that he believes support his case.
And a little more:
When former AT&T technician Mark Klein learned of a secret room installed in the company's San Francisco internet switching center, he was certain he had stumbled onto the Total Information Awareness program, a Defense Department research project that intended to scour databases across the country for telltale signs of terrorists.

Though the program had mostly been terminated by Congress in September 2003, portions of the program were allowed to continue.

Klein believed he had found these remnants, according to a written statement by Klein acquired by Wired News. AT&T built the secret room in 2003 and wired it up to receive a copy of the internet traffic running through its fiber-optic network, according to Klein's statement and accompanying documents. Inside the room, AT&T had installed routers, Sun Microsystems servers and traffic-analysis software from a company called Narus.

One of the documents appears to describe AT&T's successful efforts to tap into 16 fiber-optic cables connecting the company's WorldNet internet backbone to other internet service providers. The document shows AT&T technicians phasing in fiber-optic splitters throughout February 2003, cutting them in four at a time on a weekly schedule, ending with a link to Mae West, an internet exchange point for West Coast traffic.

"It's not just WorldNet customers who are being spied on," Klein wrote.

"The essential hardware elements of a (Total Information Awareness)-type spy program are being surreptitiously slipped into 'real world' telecommunications offices," Klein wrote, referring to "secret rooms" in central offices across the country that Klein believed contained "computer gear for a government spy operation which taps into the company's popular WorldNet service and the entire internet."
I thought that yesterday I came across something which indicated Congress is working on a bill to force ISPs to record all traffic users make, but now I can't seem to find the article.

Doesn't matter: Big Brother is, indeed, here.

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