EFF: AT&T Illegally Passing Data to NSA


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Flyboy
April 8, 2006, 03:36 PM
http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att/
EFF's Class-Action Lawsuit Against AT&T for Collaboration with Illegal Domestic Spying Program

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its massive and illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications.

In December of 2005, the press revealed that the government had instituted a comprehensive and warrantless electronic surveillance program that ignored the careful safeguards set forth by Congress. This surveillance program, purportedly authorized by the President at least as early as 2001 and primarily undertaken by the NSA, intercepts and analyzes the communications of millions of ordinary Americans.

In the largest "fishing expedition" ever devised, the NSA uses powerful computers to "data-mine" the contents of these Internet and telephone communications for suspicious names, numbers, and words, and to analyze traffic data indicating who is calling and emailing whom in order to identify persons who may be "linked" to "suspicious activities," suspected terrorists or other investigatory targets, whether directly or indirectly.

But the government did not act-and is not acting-alone. The government requires the collaboration of major telecommunications companies to implement its unprecedented and illegal domestic spying program.

AT&T Corp. (which was recently acquired by the new AT&T, Inc,. formerly known as SBC Communications) maintains domestic telecommunications facilities over which millions of Americans' telephone and Internet communications pass every day. It also manages some of the largest databases in the world, containing records of most or all communications made through its myriad telecommunications services.

The lawsuit alleges that AT&T Corp. has opened its key telecommunications facilities and databases to direct access by the NSA and/or other government agencies, thereby disclosing to the government the contents of its customers' communications as well as detailed communications records about millions of its customers, including the lawsuit's class members.

The lawsuit also alleges that AT&T has given the government unfettered access to its over 300 terabyte "Daytona" database of caller information -- one of the largest databases in the world. Moreover, by opening its network and databases to wholesale surveillance by the NSA, EFF alleges that AT&T has violated the privacy of its customers and the people they call and email, as well as broken longstanding communications privacy laws.

The lawsuit also alleges that AT&T continues to assist the government in its secret surveillance of millions of Americans. EFF, on behalf of a nationwide class of AT&T customers, is suing to stop this illegal conduct and hold AT&T responsible for its illegal collaboration in the government's domestic spying program, which has violated the law and damaged the fundamental freedoms of the American public.

On March 31 and April 5, 2006, EFF filed papers with the court asking that it order AT&T immediately to stop illegally disclose the contents of its customers' communications to the U.S. government. In support of this motion, EFF filed numerous documents and declarations which evidence both the technology and behavior involved in AT&T's illegal activities. These include a declaration from Mark Klein, a retired AT&T technician, and J. Scott Marcus, a telecomm expert who formerly worked at the Federal Communications Commission. Due to the controversial nature of the evidence and the rules of the court, EFF filed the majority of these papers temporarily "under seal." However, we have asked the court to unseal them for public access as soon as possible. AT&T has a week in which to respond to our motion and explain why these document should not be made available in the public court file.
Should be interesting to see which way this goes....

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Soybomb
April 8, 2006, 03:41 PM
Makes you wonder what the other tier 1 providers are like. If att is doing it what are the odds that l3, savvis, qwest, sprint, and the few others are being well behaved?

Autolycus
April 8, 2006, 05:06 PM
The lawsuit also alleges that AT&T continues to assist the government in its secret surveillance of millions of Americans. EFF, on behalf of a nationwide class of AT&T customers, is suing to stop this illegal conduct and hold AT&T responsible for its illegal collaboration in the government's domestic spying program, which has violated the law and damaged the fundamental freedoms of the American public.

Its nice to know that the group wants to hold AT&T responsible. But the truth is that WE ALL should be holding them responsible along with THE GOVERNMENT.

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