We’re watching you!
Little did I imagine that there’d be so much privacy and surveillance news when I decided to take a pre-Xmas breather! There’s enough out there to have me doing several posts a day, but I’ll restrain myself. Maybe some ThinkingShift readers have been keenly watching how a certain class action is going – well at least the lawyers amongst us might be. Hepting v AT&T (2006) is a class action suit filed in the US by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) – love those guys! The suit alleges that the telecommunications giant, AT&T, willingly and unlawfully assisted the US Government in monitoring the communications of – average Joe Citizen.
Whilst Bush and his croneys talk about the need to increase surveillance to combat international terrorism, it seems that what they’ve also been doing is spying on their own citizens. The US Government is trying desperately to grant legal immunity to telecommunications providers who help the Government in their War on Terror and there’s a lot of lobbying going on with US Senators to ensure that any immunity provision is not granted.
And one man is fighting the good fight – a retired AT&T technician, Mark Klein, is alleging that the National Security Agency (NSA) waltzed into AT&T’s San Francisco office in 2002 and gained access to massive amounts of email and internet search records of more than a dozen global and regional telecommunications providers. Klein alleges that the NSA was mining the data for usage patterns as well as content. Apparently, the NSA built a secret room on the 6th floor of an AT&T office ten blocks away from the main San Francisco office. Somehow Klein got his hands on some wiring diagrams and figured out that “An exact copy of all Internet traffic that flowed through critical AT&T cables — e-mails, documents, pictures, Web browsing, voice-over-Internet phone conversations, everything — was being diverted to equipment inside the secret room”. If that’s the case: then I’m toast with what I search for and blog about!
Amongst all the allegations is the possibility that carriers other than AT&T were having their flow of traffic and content monitored without their consent or knowledge. You can read Klein’s public statement here on Wired.
Is it possible that the Bush administration is not only spying on foreign communications but its own citizens? Gasp, shock, horror!!! Bet every last breath that it’s not only possible but is a reality.