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Friday, April 07, 2006

We can Prove You Read this

AT&T has long been compared to Big Brother. Probably because, for a while there, they were Big Brother - an unchallenged monopoly in telecommunications. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that they slip back into their old mindset, as Wired reports they have:

"AT&T provided NSA eavesdroppers with full access to its customers' phone calls, and shunted its customers' internet traffic to data mining equipment installed in a secret room in its San Francisco switching center, according a former AT&T worker cooperating in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's lawsuit against the company.

"Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, submitted an affidavit in support of the EFF's lawsuit this week. That class action lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco last January, alleges that AT&T violated federal and state laws by surreptiously allowing the government to monitor phone and internet communications of AT&T customers without warrants.


"According to a statement released by Klein's attorney, an NSA agent showed up at the San Francisco switching center in 2002 to interview a management-level technician for a special job. In January 2003, Klein observed a new room being built adjacent to the room housing AT&T's #4ESS switching equipment, which is responsible for routing long distance and international calls.

""I learned that the person whom the NSA interviewed for the secret job was the person working to install equipment in this room," Klein wrote. "The regular technician workforce was not allowed in the room."


"The secret room also included data-mining equipment called a Narus STA 6400, "known to be used particularly by government intelligence agencies because of its ability to sift through large amounts of data looking for preprogrammed targets," according to Klein's statement.


"According to court rules, AT&T has until Thursday to file a motion to keep the documents sealed. The government could also step in to the case and request that the documents not be made public, or even that the entire lawsuit be barred under the seldom-used State Secrets Privilege.

"AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday."
I remember that one of the big criticisms of the USSR was their use of domestic surveillance. Visitors would almost assume their hotel rooms were bugged.

But that was then, this is now. In the brave new world of neocon fearmongering, good is bad, bad is good, safety is liberty, freedom is unpatriotic, and what was bad for the USSR is good for the war on terror.

(Keywords: politics, eavesdropping, monopoly, spying, corruption)

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