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Under the Hood of AT&T's Monitoring System

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the running-commentary dept.

416

pkbarbiedoll writes "The recent discovery of AT&T's monitoring program has raised more than a few eyebrows. While the class action suit filed by EFF is pending (as well as a seperate suit filed against the NSA filed by the ACLU), interested parties are taking the time to learn more about the scope of this massive invasion of privacy. Bewert examines the Narus architecture used by AT&T in their previously shadowed (and ongoing) collaboration with the NSA."

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Spelling Nazi, sorry (-1, Redundant)

darkitecture (627408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095666)

Separate. S-e-p-a-r-a-t-e. Separate.

Re:Spelling Nazi, sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095830)

There are serious issues at hand and this post gets modded as insightful. Doh'.

Re:Spelling Nazi, sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095868)

Jackass. J-a-c-k-a-s-s.

Re:Spelling Nazi, sorry (0, Redundant)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095886)

"Separate. S-e-p-a-r-a-t-e. Separate."

How the heck this post is insightfull. Spelling nazism is tolerable only if the word is rather difficult and rare
and has been spelled incorrectly due to ignorance of the submitter. In this case it is obviously just a typo. Typo. T-y-p-o. Typo. Don't distract the readers with this guy's karma whoring. On top of that he wasted a good first post ... I pledge for many -1 flaimbaits to mod this dude down to oblivion.

Re:Spelling Nazi, sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095903)

(Score:-1, Offtopic)

Re:Spelling Nazi, sorry (2, Funny)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095905)

Shouldn't the editors be able to fix this typo? The article is only a paragraph and might take an editor 5 seconds.

Re:Spelling Nazi, sorry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095937)

Besserwisser. B-e-s-s-e-r-w-i-s-s-e-r. Besserwisser.

NSA and AT&T (2, Insightful)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095669)

Is anyone surprised?

Re:NSA and AT&T (1)

Kickboy12 (913888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095710)

Not at all. I've known something of this magnitude has been happening. Was just a matter of time before it came through to the general public.

Re:NSA and AT&T (3, Interesting)

Trigun (685027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095756)

Face it, we all had our suspicions, but never really thought that there was enough processing power to datamine that much information. We always knew it was going on, but thought that there was too much data to effectively sift.

Well brother, they're sifting!

Re:NSA and AT&T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095728)

By combining their acronyms they can form SATAN (&T).

Re:NSA and AT&T (5, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095864)

Your world. Delivered...
to the NSA.

One engineer's complaint is all it's based on... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095671)

And we know we've never heard of engineers wearing tinfoil hats and talking to aliens. Especially not here on Slashdot where anything that attacks the Bush administration is taken as gospel handed down from on high.

Gawd, linking to Daily Kos as if that's an authoritative site. Why not link to Free Republic or the Flat Earth Society [alaska.net] ?

Re:One engineer's complaint is all it's based on.. (1)

schwaang (667808) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095769)

You were assigned to the wrong crowd. We're the folks who actually get Dilbert.

[Translation for any partisan astroturfers paid to post here: slashdotters know that engineers often understand reality on the ground much better than the suits.]

Worrisome (5, Insightful)

Winlin (42941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095674)

And not just for those people who dislike the current administartion. As has been said before, even if you approve of Bush, how will you like President (Clinton, Kerry, Gore, etc) having this same technology at their disposal. It is dangerous for any government to be able to monitor its citizens this thoroughly, no matter what the original intent might be.

Re:Worrisome (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095775)

And not just for those people who dislike the current administartion. As has been said before, even if you approve of Bush, how will you like President (Clinton, Kerry, Gore, etc) having this same technology at their disposal. It is dangerous for any government to be able to monitor its citizens this thoroughly, no matter what the original intent might be.

At one's disposal? LOL. This smells like the access to healthcare canard. Millions of poor folk can't afford health insurance, but the discussion is coined in terms of acesss, the supposition being that the average poor person just needs better access. Like better access to a Mercedes dealership will get that poor person a new car.

Leaders historically have had access to all sorts of powers, both legitimate and otherwise. The issue is whether they would be inclined to make use of them, and if so, how they would go about doing so. And the answers to those questions with regards to the current administration are obvious to everyone.

Incidentally, Kerry, despite having run as a Presidential candidate a few years ago, is and remains a senator, and doesn't belong in the same conversation with Clinton and Gore. Unless you're trolling on the AM side of the radio dial.

Re:Worrisome (1)

Winlin (42941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095801)

Actually my meaning was President Hillary Clinton, President John Kerry, etc. I probbaly just phrased it a little vaguely. My point being that none of us know who will be president in the future. And as for their inclination to make use of power....I'm cynical enough to think that if it's there, it will be used.

Re:Worrisome (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095899)

And as for their inclination to make use of power....I'm cynical enough to think that if it's there, it will be used.

With or without their knowledge. Bush happens to be one of those presidents who is more openly scornful of legal restrictions upon his behavior. In reality, we're even more at risk from unelected officials that have even fewer scruples, who are more dangerous simply because they are so hard to remove.

Re:Worrisome (3, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095782)

And not just for those people who dislike the current administartion. As has been said before, even if you approve of Bush, how will you like President (Clinton, Kerry, Gore, etc) having this same technology at their disposal.

I totally agree with your sentiment. But...

From TFA: this equipment was the Narus ST-6400, a machine that was capable of monitoring over 622 Mbits/second in real time in May, 2000 .

W wasn't elected until November/December 2000.

IOW, Clinton did this, not Bush. Remember Carnivore?

Re:Worrisome (3, Interesting)

GSloop (165220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095815)

FWIW, having the *ability* to tap is far different than actually using it.

And using it when authorized and overseen by a neutral, independant party such as the FISA court, or a judge is far different than claiming some absolutely crazy crap, like, "it was authorized by the AUMF" or it's an inherent power in the constitution, or it's available for any president with W as their middle initial.

As an aside, if an AUMF allows that kind of crap, then the next one ought to come just about the same time the sun turns into a red dwarf.

-Greg

Re:Worrisome (2, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095883)

This is true. The AUMF argument is exrtraordinarily dangerous and would effectively turn our nation into a military dictatorship.

This being said, many of the most contraversial policies-- the criminalization of pure speech, the extraordinary rendition, and other serious erosions of human and civil rights actually began under Clinton. So unfortunately we cannot merely blame this on Bush as he is largely fulfilling Clinton's policies more than diverging from them.

Re:Worrisome (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095963)

FWIW, having the *ability* to tap is far different than actually using it.

The Narus ST-6400 was just Carnivore's big brother (no pun intended).

So, when Clinton was President, you trusted the FBI to always follow the rules? And for Bill, Hillary and Janet to follow them, too? ROTFLMAO. Because Carnivore could be so easily misused, the ACLU and the EFF screamed about it, too.

Remember, Carnivore worked/works by looking at every packet, and then capturing those packets that were of interest to them. Just like now.

IMNSHO, a lot of W-haters are exersizing selective amnesia regarding this case.

Re:Worrisome (5, Insightful)

legirons (809082) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095887)

"IOW, Clinton did this, not Bush. Remember Carnivore?"

What makes you think it's the president's idea? Surely the NSA does what the NSA does, regardless of the person who's theoretically supposed to be telling them what to do.

People who've watched Yes Minister will know what I mean.

Or if you've been watching the UK Home Office do its "ID cards" thing regardless of which figurehead is nominally in charge of the department. People used to say that it's all David Blunkett's fault, until he left and his old department of civil servants carried on doing exactly the same thing with a new "leader".

People blame one president for what the FBI, NSA, DHS, etc. are up to, and when that president leaves, it all continues as if nothing had changed. Aren't government bureaucracies the same, the world over?

Re:Worrisome (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095848)

You just hit the nail on the head. Personally, I'm not too worried about the Bush administration having certain additional powers but if this were 10 years ago I would have been screaming my head off.

Too many people today are short sighted in not thinking that just because they don't have a problem with the current administration doesn't mean that the political climate won't change. 230 years of history proves that it will.

LK

Re:Worrisome (5, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095913)

A lot of conservatives feel let down by Bush, for any number of reasons - growth of government, spending increases, liberalization of handling of illegal aliens, Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, the whole Gitmo thing, not practicing actual forensic science and using profiling in airport security checks out of fear of 'offending' political correctness people, limiting of peaceful protests to alloted "free speech" zones, pledging tax dollars to "economic development" abroad (effectively boosting up our own competitors), not promoting energy independence, and many other reasons.

The Republican party no longer stands for what it once did, but appears (at least at face value) be a form of liberalism of a different sort, bordering on fascism, either that or leading toward the mythical "new world order" which I used to read up on for kicks, but now after watching the Bush administration in action, now think that there may be at least some element of truth to those conspiracy theories which don't seem so crazy any more.

Thankfully some Republicans have awoken and have realized that the GOP is not what it once was.

In the next election whom do we vote for though? A big-government Democrat, or a big-government Republican, both of which seem to want to institute an Orwellian society?

OC-192 (1)

Davus (905996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095676)

This monitoring system does 10 gigabit a second? Wonder how much that set them back...

Re:OC-192 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095696)

Nothing. Your taxes paid for the privilege of being monitored.

Re:OC-192 (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095837)

I hate it when article writers start using different measuring scales. They just wanted to say "10 billion bits" because it sounds huge in comparison to 622 Mbit.

622 Mb/sec = Narus ST-6400
10,000 Mb/sec = NarusInsight

And because someone mentioned OC192 speed, what TFA actually says is
packet processing performance that supports network speeds of up to OC-192 at layer 4 and OC-48 at layer 7
I don't know enough about networking hardware to say if that's a >/=/ normal performance hit.

And uh, if you have to ask what it costs, you can't afford it... and they probably won't tell you either.

China - you are WAY behind (4, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095677)

All your base really do belong to them.

wow, and I mean just fucking WOW at the processing power alone.
This thing makes echelon look like a toy.

Since I live in the UK, this kind of technology is likely to be used here as well (since we have mandated supreme data retention laws)

This is truly scary

Re:China - you are WAY behind (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095840)

This thing makes echelon look like a toy.

Echelon is a probably a codename for a project which probably includes a lot of machines such as this.

It is quite interesting to see the technology behind echelon be brought into the public eye.

What really bothers me (3, Insightful)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095682)

What really bothers me about all this is the President's "F**k the laws, I have a job to do" attitude. How is this any different then the attitudes of the terrorists?

We've all heard the saying: "Two wrongs don't make a right". Hasn't the Bush adminstration?

The United States is a nation of LAWS...So many of you constantly remind us of that fact whenever p2p is mentioned here...yet many of these same people believe that our President has the right to IGNORE laws he doesn't want to follow.

Why

Two words. (4, Insightful)

KitesWorld (901626) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095721)

'Absolute power'.

A democratic government is supposed to have limited power by design. However, as they grow, they tend to cut themselves free of the shackles that their founders placed on them.
If you're going to be suprised about anything, be suprised that it didn't happen sooner.

Re:Two words. (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095849)

The Roman Republic lasted about as long as we did...

Re:What really bothers me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095787)

This is a valid point. When I read the discussions on RIAA/MPAA lawsuits, a lot of people say it is copyright infringement and is against the law so the people deserve to be sued. However some of these same people will excuse the government's breaking of the laws for the war on terror and do not see it as a big deal. Basically hypocracy runs wild these days. In fact it runs so wild I must post this as anonymous coward to avoid damaging my karma.

Learning to love big brother;) (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095684)

Why are people so consistently surprised by this kind of news. I've come to simply expect that corporations are in full swing of subjugating the general public.

Re:Learning to love big brother;) (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095729)

I've come to simply expect that corporations are in full swing of subjugating the general public.
There's a word for that system of government: Fascism.

Re:Learning to love big brother;) (5, Insightful)

Paladin144 (676391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095917)

There's a word for that system of government: Fascism.

I'm surprised that you haven't been modded flamebait already by the (guess who!) fascists. I'm glad you weren't modded down, because you are 100% correct.

I understand those of you who are in denial, however. The idea that America is slowly going fascist is a big, painful pill to swallow. However, the fact remains that corporations have unprecedented control of our society, and our government. Corporations are the primary institution of our time, just as capitalism is primary ideology (not democracy, that's for sure. How often do you vote? How often do you shop? Compare.) of 21st century America. Add to this unfortunate mix the shadow government in the form of the Military-Industrial Complex [wikipedia.org] , and you have a recipe for the hidden hand of fascism.

I leave you with a quote from Mussolini:

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

Re:Learning to love big brother;) (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095919)

"I've come to simply expect that corporations are in full swing of subjugating the general public."

"There's a word for that system of government: Fascism."

Fascism is a power-triangle between the military, politicians, and an aristocracy. It was a Roman invention - Rome was a fascist state. The Germans added racial components, some romantic fairytales, and voila -- nazism.

The complete melding of corporations and government is the definition of communism.

Surely you did not mean to mislead us (?).

Re:Learning to love big brother;) (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095931)

There's a word for that system of government: Fascism

We here at AT&T prefer to use the term: "Pervasively Administered Law and Order Regimes, with Ongoing Profitable Public/Private Synergistic Relationships"

Let's translate in understandable metrics shall we (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095685)

The latest generation is called NarusInsight, capable of monitoring 10 billion bits of data per second.

That's 1192MB/s, not exactly what I'd call enough to monitor the entire innurnet in real time, which means somewhere along the way, AT+T must be doing some filtering, which is even sadder.

On the other hand, that's roughly 2 CD-sized full-length movies a second, so that's about 2 hours worth of pr0n per second, which means that it takes a stadium packed with 7200 naked NSA agents and a truck full of Kleenex tissues to check out all the videos in real-time...

Re:Let's translate in understandable metrics shall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095719)

Actually, even NSA agents don't work round the clock, so given a 8 hour workday, you need 21600 NSA agents.

Let's translate into poetry. (1)

xiphoris (839465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095736)

Already done for us. Thankfully it's no longer under copyright, so I can post it. The Hollow Men - T. S. Eliot (1925)

I

We are the hollow men/ We are the stuffed men/ Leaning together/ Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!/ Our dried voices, when/ We whisper together/ Are quiet and meaningless/ As wind in dry grass/ Or rats' feet over broken glass/ In our dry cellar/

[Slashdot complained about too few characters to per line so some is reformatted]

Shape without form, shade without colour,/ Paralysed force, gesture without motion;/
Those who have crossed/ With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom/ Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost/ Violent souls, but only/ As the hollow men/ The stuffed men./
II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams/ In death's dream kingdom/ These do not appear:/ There, the eyes are/> Sunlight on a broken column/ There, is a tree swinging/ And voices are/ In the wind's singing/ More distant and more solemn/ Than a fading star./
Let me be no nearer/ In death's dream kingdom/ Let me also wear/ Such deliberate disguises/ Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves/ In a field/ Behaving as the wind behaves/ No nearer --/
Not that final meeting/ In the twilight kingdom/
III

This is the dead land/ This is cactus land/ Here the stone images/ Are raised, here they receive/ The supplication of a dead man's hand/ Under the twinkle of a fading star./
Is it like this/ In death's other kingdom/ Waking alone/ At the hour when we are/ Trembling with tenderness/ Lips that would kiss/ Form prayers to broken stone./
IV

The eyes are not here/ There are no eyes here/ In this valley of dying stars/ In this hollow valley/ This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms/
In this last of meeting places/ We grope together/ And avoid speech/ Gathered on this beach of the tumid river/
Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear/ Prickly pear prickly pear/ Here we go round the prickly pear/ At five o'clock in the morning./
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Re:Let's translate in understandable metrics shall (1)

ocbwilg (259828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095757)

That's 1192MB/s, not exactly what I'd call enough to monitor the entire innurnet in real time, which means somewhere along the way, AT+T must be doing some filtering, which is even sadder.

From what I have read in other articles, there are rooms at other sites that also do this monitoring. So even though the single installation isn't fast enough to monitor in real-time, collectively it would certainly be powerful to monitor AT&T's part of it in real time.

Re:Let's translate in understandable metrics shall (1)

Zen (8377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095827)

Yeah, I agree. I was a bit underwhelmed at the specs they gave of the machine. I assume it's actually quite a bit faster than what they're telling us in the article. For example, my company uses Sniffers. We have a few of their high end infinistream platforms which are gigabit speed and basically write directly to the harddrive with a couple terabyte disk array. I'm positive they are working on 10Gb devices already, and probably have a functional test unit already built as the 10G platforms have been around for 3-4 years. I'm sure they have a competitor that already has one on the market, just so they can say that they are on step ahead of sniffer. So basically take an off the shelf infinistream, attach it to a much larger backend diskarray which would be incredibly easy as it uses SATA drives, and then use some other off the shelf but highly customizable database and db management software to create fast searchable databases with everything linked together. We use a product from a company called NCR/Teradata that can do this. It is extremely fast, and we currently have close to 50TB of online storage fully backed up on raid5. We are also in the process of putting in an OC-192 sonet ring between our main site and our datacenter. So if a single company can have a network running at OC-192, I'm sure that this device that they're using for monitoring is not dedicated to a single sonet ring, so it must be much faster than what is actually being reported. Otherwise they would have to have literally thousands in various places all over the country (just think of the bandwidth flowing in and out of mae east and west alone!) Combine the off the shelf hardware with the governments budget, and it would be very easy to build something that would equal this devices processing power with pretty much off the shelf components - nothing secretive about it. The existence of this device doesn't surprise me one bit. What does surprise me is that AT&T was able to keep it secret for five years.

Re:Let's translate in understandable metrics shall (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095858)

Ten gigs a second is peanuts, but obviously there's more than one of these things ... and presumably the next generation will be even faster.

which means that it takes a stadium packed with 7200 naked NSA agents and a truck full of Kleenex tissues to check out all the videos in real-time...

Thanks for the image.

Where's the source? (5, Funny)

Chris Snook (872473) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095706)

I couldn't find this software on sourceforge or freshmeat. It really troubles me that the US government is using proprietary software to violate our constitutional rights.

Re:Where's the source? (2, Funny)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095717)

They will give you the source on request - but then they have to kill you.

Re:Where's the source? (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095733)

The don't care about licenses.

Conversation I overheard in a bar (4, Interesting)

cortana (588495) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095732)

Area 51. You heard of it, right? I worked out there. Most people think they've got aliens from another planet, but I didn't see any flying saucers.

Something's going on underground. I'm a pilot, which means I didn't get access to the main complex, but a lot of rock comes out of there; it's some kind of mine. But what I don't understand is why they're always laying more fiber-optic cables.

You know what I think? I think that's where the UN moved Echelon IV, back when they promised they were going to stop spying on people. They want to centralize everything -- every computer on the planet.
Also, here's an exerpt from a book I stumbled upon:
When one maniac can wipe out a city of twenty million with a microbe developed in his basement, a new approach to law enforcement becomes necessary. Every citizen in the world must be placed under surveillance. That means sky-cams at every intersection, computer-mediated analysis of every phone call, e-mail, and snail-mail, and a purely electronic economy in which every transaction is recorded and data-mined for suspicious activity.

We are close to achieving this goal. Some would say that human liberty has been compromised, but the reality is just the opposite. As surveillance expands, people become free from danger, free to walk alone at night, free to work in a safe place, and free to buy any legal product or service without the threat of fraud. One day every man and woman will quietly earn credits, purchase items for quiet homes on quiet streets, have cook-outs with neighbors and strangers alike, and sleep with doors and windows wide open. If that isn't the tranquil dream of every free civilization throughout history, what is?
(thanks W. Spector et. al.)

Re:Conversation I overheard in a bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095764)

and if they ever wake up, we can flush them out of the matrix.

Re:Conversation I overheard in a bar (5, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095777)

"As surveillance expands, people become free from danger, free to walk alone at night, free to work in a safe place, and free to buy any legal product or service without the threat of fraud."

Note that "free to dissent" doesn't appear in that list.

Re:Conversation I overheard in a bar (3, Insightful)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095788)

Hey, that's dialogue from Deus Ex!

Re:Conversation I overheard in a bar (2, Insightful)

robogun (466062) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095828)

We are close to achieving this goal. Some would say that human liberty has been compromised, but the reality is just the opposite. As surveillance expands, people become free from danger, free to walk alone at night, free to work in a safe place, and free to buy any legal product or service without the threat of fraud. One day every man and woman will quietly earn credits, purchase items for quiet homes on quiet streets, have cook-outs with neighbors and strangers alike, and sleep with doors and windows wide open. If that isn't the tranquil dream of every free civilization throughout history, what is?


The problem is, all that security has to be controlled from somewhere, and that means power in the hands of men -- fallible, selfish men -- and all thru the 20th century, it was proven repeatedly that time this kind of control over citizens is at hand, millions die.


Your idea is straight from Orwell, do you really think that is going to get past Slashdot readers?

Re:Conversation I overheard in a bar (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095924)

Or assign it to computers,Mr Anderson.

Re:Conversation I overheard in a bar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095950)

Apparently you're too dense to notice the attribution at the end of his post. It's dialogue from a computer game.

Impressive, but AT&T can bite me (5, Interesting)

realmolo (574068) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095735)

Seriously. The ISP I work for buys it's bandwidth from AT&T, but this week I'm talking to the boss about dumping them. The whole "we're going to charge Google to send data to our customers" thing was bad enough, and now we find out they're collaborating with the fucking NSA? Monitorying OUR traffic without telling us?

Screw AT&T. They aren't going to get my companies money, and I expect that I'm not the only one who is going to ditch them.

They should be sued into oblivion.

Re:Impressive, but AT&T can bite me (1)

qzulla (600807) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095772)

I'll see you in the unemployment line.

qz

Re:Impressive, but AT&T can bite me (2, Informative)

Zen (8377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095784)

Good luck with that. Not to be a party pooper as this is /. and everybody here loves a good conspiracy theory and hates 'the man', but there are only a few huge global data telecom carriers in the world. AT&T happens to be among the big ones. So regardless of who gets your money, some of that money will get to AT&T regardless through backend peer agreements, leasing of lines and/or space from AT&T CO's, etc. It is naive to think that you can take all of your companies money away from AT&T. As you stated, you use a downstream provider of theirs, so AT&T wasn't getting all the money to begin with, and your provider probably (hopefully) has agreements with other upstream providers in addition to AT&T. All ISP's do this. It is incredibly stupid from an ISP's standpoint to only have a single upstream provider, so again, good luck with finding a provider in the US that does not peer with AT&T either directly or as a secondary.

Good Luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095789)

Assuming you're a US based ISP, what makes you think that you'll find a carrier without CALEA equipment? For that matter, what is your employer doing to implement the CALEA requirements?

Re:Impressive, but AT&T can bite me (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095792)

Mark parent funny. He obviously is joking as:

1) Google SHOULD PAY FOR TRANSIT TO THEIR UPSTREAM PEER. Google is not Tier1 and DOES NOT ROUTE other providers traffic.

2) Imagine something like, ohh I don't know, an inline IDS on a much grander scale. This IDS is not only for the computers but for the nation.

I would hope that you tinfoil geeks would have the ability to comprehend the scale at which an operation like this would intail. This is NOT something that is recording all traffic on the line, but would rather be filtering, filtering, filtering and then analyzing the data for specific triggers. One would hope that the triggers would then be on a scoring system which would then filter that specific connections data to a capture location. This is more than likely all done through BGP route injection similar to how Cisco's Guard, TippingPoint, and others 'insert' themselfs into a data stream.

Oh noez! The United States has an Network Analyzer! They are doing what major companies have been doing for quite some time now.

Grow up /.

Re:Impressive, but AT&T can bite me (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095845)

Why would you change? Do you really think that only ATT is doing this? Do you honest believe that no other backbone carrier is working with US gov? Do you think that this is the only installation? If so, then ignorance is bliss.

Re:Impressive, but AT&T can bite me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095916)

I hope you succeed. I tried using SBC (which just bought AT&T and is using their name) for DSL. They had multiple issues on their side with packet loss and it was impossible to get them to fix it. They required jumping through the same hoops over and over again just to have a "tech" come fix the problem. The second one to come told me that even though the problem was clearly with their servers, there was nothing he could do to fix it and that I was better off getting comcast(which I did, they had me up an running in 10 mins).

The worst thing about this? AT&T then sent my account to a collection agency which I took to court to prevent my credit from being tarnished. 10 days after lying in court saying they would not tarnish my credit report AT&T hired a second collection agency and dropped my credit rating by 70 points.

All I can do is warn others. AT&T could care less about their customers and our civil liberties. They lie in court and have bought and paid congress and our legal system. People giving them money are simply inching us one step closer to a facist state controlled my the corporations.

Re:Impressive, but AT&T can bite me (2, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095957)

Look into Hurricane Electric. We buy bandwidth from them in the GBps range, they don't push data to pick-your-acronym-gov.-agency, and the bandwidth is priced right (plus, latency is rockstar).

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with HE. I am simply a satisfied customer.

what about encryption and VPNs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095738)

I would assume that any business would set up a encrypted VPN tunnel as soon as their network was to enter the telco. So assumming that this was the case, how would this device (sitting inside the telco cloud) Monitor any of this traffic. Furthermore, I dont see how the device would be able to construct "a total network view" from within the telco even without encryption. (The firewall would block ping sweeps or other reconnasance based attacks) Joe consumer on the other hand, would not have a encrypted connection, so I think its safe to say that the sole purpose of this technology is to spy on citizens. Tor routing would provide the citizen/terrorist with encryption that would circumvent the monitoring device. So in the end, it sounds like this device is a hugely expensive monitoring device that would only catch the dumbest of dumb.

Employment on the NSA (2, Informative)

cervo (626632) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095742)

Yes spying and everything is wrong. But with the NSA having more power than ever and needing to acquire/sift through more and more information all the time, wouldn't it be a very cool place to work.

http://www.nsa.gov/careers/ [nsa.gov] has links to all the areas. The only thing I found extraordinarily interesting is that computer programming type skills (ie Software Engineering) is more under the Computer Engineering/Electrical engineering career track than the computer science one.

The only question is that if you should decide to leave the NSA or are fired, does termination extend to more than your employment? Although seriously it does seem like a very geek friendly place to work.

Re:Employment on the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095770)

The only question is that if you should decide to leave the NSA..

Don't you know?

In Soviet America, nobody leaves the NSA.

Re:Employment on the NSA (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095794)

The only question is that if you should decide to leave the NSA or are fired, does termination extend to more than your employment? Although seriously it does seem like a very geek friendly place to work.

It depends. I have a Q clearance. I don't like the idea of spending my days behind bars. I don't talk. They probably have SCI. More better. I declined mine. I don't need SCI to survive.

It is pretty simple. If you quit you don't talk. If you work for them you don't talk. Can't get much simpler than that.

Posting ac for obvious reasons.

ac

Re:Employment on the NSA (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095813)

I have a Q clearance.

Does this mean you are the one who makes all the gadgets that James Bond destroys?

Re:Employment on the NSA (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095891)

If you have that high level a clearance, you \b{don't} talk about it.

It's just like fight club.

Re:Employment on the NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095866)

Yes spying and everything is wrong. But with the NSA having more power than ever and needing to acquire/sift through more and more information all the time, wouldn't it be a very cool place to work.

If you can put up with the periodic background checks, lifestyle polygraphs and working as a bureaucrat, then yes. Also, I'm guessing, very few of their "toys" are in playpen mode. You're not going to be able to try to port your favorite distro to their hardware to see it scream, let alone download anything from the Internet. More likely you'll need a form with 10 signatures just to switch your $EDITOR from vi to emacs.

The only thing I found extraordinarily interesting is that computer programming type skills (ie Software Engineering) is more under the Computer Engineering/Electrical engineering career track than the computer science one.

Why are you suprised by this? Most programming is engineering in the strictest sense. How many coders out there actually get to experiment with new algorithms? Have you developed a radically improved sorting aglorithm lately? Or are you more likely to be implementing one?

The only question is that if you should decide to leave the NSA or are fired, does termination extend to more than your employment? Although seriously it does seem like a very geek friendly place to work.

I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill ... uh, I guess I just told you.

NGO Intelligence disAgency (1)

realitybath1 (837263) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095873)

I think a better career would be setting up a decentralized non-governmental spy agency. Basically a clearing (non)house for whistleblowers or even people who set out to infiltrate various governmental spy agencies around the world and then dump their dirty secrets out into public view.

There would have to be some sort of code of ethics regarding active operations, like notifying the agencies involved ahead of time that a specific operation/s will be compromised. Even then, I could see situations where agencies wouldn't be notified, because they have a nasty tendency for destroying evidence when it exposes crimes they themselves have comitted.

One thing that amazes me repeatedly is the sheer idiocy that gov. intel agencies get away with. Also, before you think I'm U.S. bashing, the most ludicrous example that immediately came to mind is French (Rainbow Warrior bombing and the subsequent manipulation of EU trade policy in order to retrieve operatives from NZ prison). The only thing the French could have done that would have been less 'tough' is if they bombed a pastry factory while wearing cross-dress disguises: "Sacre-bleau, Agente Jon Pierre, tu 'es plus sexi dans cette jupe. Cherche la vache!"

Re:NGO Intelligence disAgency (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095923)

Independant intelligence organizations exist, though not exactly how you describe. Usually they are in the form of think tanks that have analysts and people who go into the field to collect data. In essence, they operate like the CIA did before they went all high tech. The point is not to expose the dirty secrets of other intelligence agencies, but rather to provide a good neutral view on issues of great importance (like the CIA was supposed to do before Bush took office).

One such organization is the International Crisis Group. Prior to the Iraq War, they published some very interesting rebuttals to the public statements that Bush, Powell, et. al. were making. While they pointed out that they were split on whether war was necessary, it was interesting that their assessment was *far* more accurate than anything we saw from the Bush Administration. Maybe CIA analysts should spend more time reading stuff from crisisweb.org?

I think it would be a very interesting place to work (the ICG), but not particularly geeky.

Tor (3, Informative)

ChadL (880878) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095747)

Tor (http://tor.eff.org/ [eff.org] ) is a good way to prevent the government (or anyone else) from watching what sites you go to.
It can be a little slow at times, but you do not need to use it all the time (unless you are very paranoid).

Re:Tor (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095768)

What if they monitor who connects to Tor?

Re:Tor (1)

Crazyscottie (947072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095803)

That's highly unlikely (though I wouldn't put it past the US government to at least attempt it). The NSA would have to 1) find all of the Tor servers, 2) somehow monitor them individually for unencrypted connections, and 3) follow each and every encrypted connection to its endpoint - extremely difficult on a connection that completely changes its route every ten minutes.

Re:Tor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095906)

1) find all of the Tor servers

Not hard at all. They are very public and well known.

2) somehow monitor them individually for unencrypted connections

All connections to Tor are encrypted until the connection exits the final Tor node to its destination. Regardless, if we beleive that this monitoring system and the echelon network are as sophisticated as we believe, it would be a simple task for them to do.

3) follow each and every encrypted connection to its endpoint - extremely difficult on a connection that completely changes its route every ten minutes.

Again, we do not know the scope of NSA's monitoring, but it is certianly not beyond their abilities. If they monitor every major backbone, it would be trivial.

Re:Tor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095796)

Handful of problems with that. They could keep a special eye on tor users. Second, you don't need to compromise every tor server to compromise tor, how do you know that they aren't running a lot of tor servers?


Another thing, using foreign tor servers means that you're traffic is leaving the country which is what the NSA is actually allowed to monitor and supposed to monitor the most so you might even draw more attention to yourself by doing that.

Re:Tor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095920)

Probably not; Tor relies on a limited access to the network. A facility as described would allow you to do serious traffic analysis. Thus, your connection to Tor is encrypted, but you can correlate it exactly in terms of time and amount of data with an outgoing connection from another Tor node which is towards the destination site and unencrypted.

There are countermeasures, e.g. deliberate random delay in Tor and padding of uplink data (round up to the nearest gigabyte e.g.), but these cost resources and would slow down Tor.

Mandatory link (1)

fungus (37425) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095785)

http://narus.com/ [narus.com]

next frontier (4, Interesting)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095795)

Has anyone else been looking for the next frontier of freedom. What I mean is that for the longest time, the USA was the last frontier in freedom. If people in the world wanted to be free, they would find their way to the United States. While the USA is still more free than most places, the deterioration over the last 80 years has been notable.

Since most of the land in the world is claimed by less than free governments, I'm wondering if the next frontier in freedom needs to be sea based. I suppose for the next few decades people can probably use technologies to secure their freedoms, crypto, open source, etc..., but that won't get arround the physical controll problem. Eventually people will need to physically secure their freedoms.

Maybe the solution is for a bunch of liberty minded people to collaberate together to take controll of a small despot country, but that still would make it very vulnerable to larger military powers. Moving to more free states, juridistictions, and countries would probably help, but doen't seem like a permanent solution. Maybe it would be possible to convince all the freedom hating overloards to go somewhere else, but that seems unlikely too.

Re:next frontier (4, Insightful)

lamp540 (644770) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095854)

we're pretty much fucked.

Re:next frontier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095907)

I feel pretty free here, but maybe that's just me. Hey, if you don't like what you see A) don't apply or B) if you're already here, don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out.

Re:next frontier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095954)

I've thought about this a little. Our freedoms are definately being eroded. It is hard to say whether our forefathers would be roling over in their graves or would be extremely proud of how much their country has achieved in such a short period of time. However, if it ever comes to a point where the average citizen must fear their government I think we will see a rise in online Micro-Nations. Groups of people who use technology to reject legal notions of land ownership and other methods used by the state to control their populace.
   

Re:next frontier (2, Interesting)

xenophrak (457095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095961)


I think you mean something like this [freedomship.com] ?

The problem with any sovereign nation, especially one at sea is the dependence on external resources. Just ask Japan how it goes.

I do think this is a cool idea, there is plenty of water given desalinization, and if you have a small nuclear reactor on board, you can generate heat and electricity for 15 years per refit. But food? Granted you can grow your own hydroponics, but for the number of people they are talking about, the infrastructure would be quite large.

And then there is the issue of defense. Would you devise your own weapons, or buy from the USA or the Chinese? Choose your alliances well, because they might just end up costing you your country.

No, thanks, starting a new country on this planet is quite impossible. Even at it's face, Iraq's reconstruction is fraught with problems. I say lets just kick the bums out who are in control and have some France-style awakening.

Now that this is out (and Tice's info). (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095804)

Look carefully at Carnivore and Calea. It was a ruse even back then. We have had the capability for quite some time to examine all the cell calls, telephone calls, and e-mails. In real-time. Undetected.

Now, think in terms of who this stuff was sold as being meant for: Al Qaeda. Do you honestly think that Al Qaeda does not have a clue about what capabilities we have? They have not trusted their regular comms for quite sometime. They go to great lengths to use either human carriers and some other very clever approachs to hiding their comms.

So then, who is this being used on? Read the so called USA PATRIOT act. It allows the passing of information from the NSA/CIA to the DOJ, that was obtained in the persuit of terrorist. That is, it allows ALL of comms that we have in country to go do the DOJ, if it was meant for find terrorists. So now, the NSA simply says that all of their information was obtianed in the persuit of terrorism, and it can be passed to the DOJ.

Great. We are busy catching bad guys. Of course, people like GWB and Karl Rove would never have access to the Democrats or Libertarians information since it is all encrypted on secure systems such as Windows. Right? We would neve expect that [wikipedia.org] our current or future [wikipedia.org] republicans [wikipedia.org] to use it to illegally futher their own goals, right? APCA

Glad their monitoring terrorists (-1, Flamebait)

david999 (941503) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095817)

Glad their monitoring terrorists

Previous presidents abused the freedoms our country offers so they could make money and deals - clinton using the IRS against all his girlfriends (what a man) and anyone else who criticize him. Only the more corrupt members of congress kept him in office. I have yet to see anything about Bush using these methods. Just charges slung by dems but zero evidence, slinging mud. Now I don't like one bit his domestic spending or giving illegals amnesty but you know the democrats would have caved as clinton did and we would have been attacked repeatedly as in the 90's after 9/11 if gore or kerry were president.

They would be blaming everyone but themselves.
Bush just attacks the terrorists - I think not aggressive enough but I think Dirty Harry is a liberal :)

The news media regular "filters" the news now and most people get their news from local & network news shows. Katie Couric! geez... Glad the internet is around with the many blogs where you can read for yourself the news from around the world and filter for yourself. Google & Yahoo owners are helping China keep their population under the thumb of communism - do no evil unless you make money right?

What you should worry about is google and earthlink watching every keystroke as they will in San Francisco and selling that info and the phone companies selling your movements by tracking the GPS in your cellphones

I bet those that criticize Bush will be the 1st in line to criticize him if the terrorists attack here in the USA
BTW just what is the democrats plan again? Abandon the Iraq's and Afgans as in Vietnam and Cambodia? Millions killed but hey we feel for them plan

Re:Glad their monitoring terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095898)

Glad their monitoring terrorists

Previous presidents abused the freedoms our country offers so they could make money and deals


Woo Woooo! Here comes the clue train, last stop is you. Terrorists do not exist on the scale you believe they do. This whole war on terror is the way the government is taking away your freedom and abusing its power so they can make money and deals...

From the Narus frontpage (1)

arabagast (462679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095832)

2006.04.05 Narus gains entry into coveted Chinese carrier market with Shanghai Telecom as first regional customer

It fits the picture quite nicely...

Better Privacy Laws (3, Insightful)

hindumagic (232591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095846)

More people are starting to use the internet for their personal correspondence and business.

There are strict laws governing snail mail to protect against this very abuse we're seeing, among others. Imagine if companies, and the government, were able to know every bit of content in your snail mail? Would you be comfortable with that? What if every bit of your communication is available to the highest bidder? (a possible outcome of all this if something isn't done now)

Change the laws! Why is this information not as important as the stuff that goes on paper? Apply the same mindset that we have with the mail system towards internet traffic. I'd be fine if they recorded traffic's origin and destination, but they shouldn't lawfully have access to the *content* of my correspondence.

Technology is only going to make this oversight easier and easier. We have to educate people and change attitudes starting now.

Forget AT&T. Look at who else uses Narus... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095847)

From http://www.narus.com/customers/index.html [narus.com] :

AT&T, Brasil Telecom, KDDI, KT, KPN, Saudi Telecom, Telecom Egypt, T-Mobile, US Cellular

I must say that the Saudis using narus stuff amuses me greatly, but the rest of the list scares me. I mean, they've even got parts of Japan (KDDI) and South Korea (KT).

Watergate (4, Insightful)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095859)

Well, it seems Ol'Nixon wasn't so bad after all...

Another interesting read. (4, Informative)

fred911 (83970) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095863)

http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70621-0.htm l [wired.com] (Wired). An interview of a guy that works (ed?) for ATT that the EFF has subpoenaed as a witness. Talks about the physical connection made and how/when they did it.

Travel 22 years back in time! (1)

ZSpade (812879) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095869)

To 1984.

Seriously though, when a country has no real threats to look at on the outside, (at least no nations as a whole), it turns it's eyes inward.

The next couple of decades are going to be interesting, as technology makes it easier and easier to spy. When and where are the lines going to be drawn in the sand?

To look at it another way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095900)

When a country is unassailable from the outside, then its enemies can only attack from the inside.

Use a cell phone - go to jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15095872)

Has anyone commented on the new CDMA cell phones? With their built-in GPS they can automagically adjust your phone's clock to display local time or alert 911 operators to your location. Oh wait, that means any time you use your phone, you can be tracked. Oh wait... my wireless provider says that a new law REQUIRES I get one of these new phones. It was free, but hmmmmmm..... This is a great way to track terrorists. They have to communicate somehow. Or if you are in a high-speed chase in LA, just filter out the driver going 100mph from the other drivers and wait at his house.

Before there was terror, there was greed (3, Insightful)

unitron (5733) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095894)

Notice the part of the article that cites another article from 1999?

Back then they were talking about how wonderful it was to spy on everyone so some internet traffic could be charged a higher rate to be passed along.

Nearer the top of the page it mentions that previous to September 11, 2001 they wanted to analyze everything to prevent "revenue leakage", which I take to be the industry term of art meaning "a failure to exploit loopholes and monopolies to screw everyone out of every last penny".

Now they can be greedy and "patriotic".

OSI? (1)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095912)

"And what does it monitor while looking at this 10 billion bits of IP data per second? First lets take a look at what the network model is, the OSI model of seven layers. NarusInsight focuses on two layers: number four, the transport layer, built on standards like TCP and UDP, the physical building blocks of internet data traffic, and number seven, the application layer, built on standards like HTTP and FTP, which are dependent on the application using them, i.e. Internet Explorer, Kazaa, Skype, etc."

This is where I stopped reading. Most knowledgible IT guys know that although the internet is inspired by OSI it follows a slightly different layering architecture which places the application layer in level 5. I would use TCP/UDP transport layer and application layer instead of mentioning OSI.

1984 is not a howto! (4, Funny)

NoSuchGuy (308510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095921)

Tell your politicans that 1984 is NOT a howto!

What I'd be interested in... (2, Interesting)

SigILL (6475) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095938)

What I'd be interested in is if this device does real-time packet reassembly and flow recovery. If not, what's to keep a terrorist from putting "BO" in one packet and "MB" in a following one? Or doing nasty stuff with fragmented IP packets?

Running a packet-oriented grep on a large datastream is not that hard (ie. easily solvable if you throw enough processing power at it). If the government's sniffers can reassemble packets and recover flows real-time, *then* worry.

What about client side monitoring assistance? (2, Interesting)

bazmail (764941) | more than 8 years ago | (#15095962)

I would be very surprised if the NSA did not usurp some software companies (**cough** Symantec **cough**) to help on the client side for this monitoring system. To do small things like flag words, reformat packets etc. Could be done. and most likely is ocnsidering its easier to do than corrupt an entire telecoms company and install massive hardware.
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