Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

AT&T Forwarding All Internet Traffic to NSA?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the will-it-never-end dept.

682

An anonymous reader writes "SpamDailyNews is reporting that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a brief that claims AT&T has been forwarding internet traffic directly into the hands of the NSA. The brief was filed under seal (a procedure that allows only the judge and the litigants to view the document) in order to give the court time to review the information. From the article: 'More than just threatening individuals' privacy, AT&T's apparent choice to give the government secret, direct access to millions of ordinary Americans' Internet communications is a threat to the Constitution itself. We are asking the Court to put a stop to it now.'"

cancel ×

682 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Coincidence? (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083698)

And you wonder why the feds have no problem with the AT&T monopoly getting back together? Can we file this under the "You-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-your" department?

Re:Coincidence? (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083717)

Next time yell "Frist Post!" Damn noobs... gotta explain everything to them.

Re:Coincidence? (4, Insightful)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083739)

The funny thing is that this is exactly the first thing that came to my mind.

After reading your comment I think thought, "And perhaps this is why Net Neutrality will never happen."

Re:Coincidence? (5, Informative)

Stop Error (823742) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083804)

That why I do, and encourage others to, donate to the EFF.

Re:Coincidence? (1)

certel (849946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083834)

You know, this never even enter into my mind and you make a good point. Conspiracy!!

Forward This To The N.S.A.: +1, Patriotic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083883)


1-800-ALQ-AEDA Operations [whitehouse.org] , how may I direct your
call [huffingtonpost.com] ?

Patriotically,
KIlgore Trout, Activist

Re:Coincidence? (4, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083899)

And you wonder why the feds have no problem with the AT&T monopoly getting back together?

The feds--and many economists--have no problem with AT&T essentially reassembling itself because competition exists today that did not exist in the past. Cable companies, wireless companies and straight VoIP providers can all provide telephone service in direct competition with typical land-line phone companies. The phone companies are also competing with those companies on THEIR domains (for example, video over Internet lines--the reason they're interested in laying fiber all of the sudden).

These new forms of competition are also, undoubtedly, why you are hearing phone companies beginning to make a stink about charging people to carry traffic over their pipes.

Hmm (1)

WasII (112575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083699)

Glad I'm not giving these bastards any of my money directly.

Re:Hmm (4, Funny)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083801)

What? You're glad that you aren't helping the Fight Against the Islamic Terrorists?

You must be one of them!

Will they open documents? (5, Interesting)

liliafan (454080) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083701)

I am so glad I use verizon as my ISP.

As TFA says:

The internal AT&T documents and portions of the supporting declarations have been submitted to the Court under a tentative seal, a procedure that allows AT&T five court days to explain to the Court why the information should be kept from the public.


I can't think of any possible justification for the documents to be kept sealed, but I wouldn't be suprised if the government wades in complaining that these document are directly related to National Security, and, should therefore be kept sealed, or claim that it would endanger their own investigations [washingtonpost.com] .

The best thing about Verizon (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083720)

Is that they're so lazy, they refuse to help the RIAA/MPAA/NSA/FBI, etc, unless they are literally forced by law, and then they only do the minimal amount required.

You think Verizon is different? (5, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083765)

Remember Carnivore [wikipedia.org] ? The US intelligence agencies have had for years the capability to analyze some of the Internet traffic going through the US. To do so they must have some direct connection to the backbone. Apparently AT&T has been providing some of the connection by I doubt that they are the only ones. Given that they were able to intercept communications in foreign countries I would surely expect them to be able to access the backbone even if no local company co-operated and hence I assume that anything I transmit unencrypted is accessible to US intelligence. So far this hasn't led me to encrypt any non-commercial communications.

On the policy side, this is an issue of trust and secrecy. This kind of intelligence operation is something you want to be available due to its good uses (and don't want to know about it), but you are afraid of because of the way the government can abuse it. The current administration has greatly reduced my trust in the professionalism of the US intelligence agencies to the point where I'm willing to support this kind of lawsuit.

Re:Will they open documents? (3, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083882)

Using Verizon as your ISP is no defense: if your traffic passes over AT&T owned wire, to or from your destination, you are vulnerable to this kind of snooping. This is particularly true for international traffic, much of which is over fiber-optic cable owned by AT&T. The routers connecting to those cables are one of the best possible places for network monitoring, and you'd better believe that the NSA is happy to install it there, with AT&T cooperation.

There are certainly tools that can track and record every byte sent on every port on a saturated 100 MHz link, and write it to local disk. Given that the trans-atlantic links are rarely GigE capable, a rack of such devices should easily monitor and re-assemble all the traffic desired. www.sandstorm.com, for example, sells exactly that sort of monitoring tool called "Netintercept", commercially. There's no reason to think the NSA doesn't use them or hasn't reverse engineered them.

Never thought I'd see the day... (3, Interesting)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083706)

...but here we are. Big Brother REALLY IS watching...

Re:Never thought I'd see the day... (1, Troll)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083782)

A boot, stomping on the face of humanity. Forever.

Re:Never thought I'd see the day... (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083866)

We've been there for at least six years. Every ISP has a Carnivore box, and they scan everything. Where have you been?

The last straw (1)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083707)

Well, my DSL contract ends in May...here I come Nex-Tech.

I, as should everyone, will speak to them with my wallet. They have lost my local, long distance and data services.

Re:The last straw (2, Funny)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083783)

I would make that last month of service as costly for them as you can.

Call in and bitch about the service being too slow.

Fire up BitTorrent, and start downloading Linux distros like there's no tomorrow. And seed them. All of them. Don't throttle the upload, either. (and, of course, disable BitTorrent when they're on a service call)

Re:The last straw (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083793)

Well, my DSL contract ends in May...here I come Nex-Tech.

If Nex-Tech is a DSL provider you'd likely be using the exact same lines and still be going through AT&T's/SBC's systems.

Phone companies lease DSL to other companies to resell. If Nex-Tech is one of these, then you're still giving AT&T money, still using their lines, and still having all your porn requests send to the NSA.

Re:The last straw (1)

Colonel Angus (752172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083815)

That'd be great if there was a significant portion of AT&T customers who know that this is going on. My money is on but a miniscule fraction of their customer base having any idea a) that it's going on or b) why they should give a shit. I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who subscribe to the "If you've got nothing to hide then you've got nothing to worry about" mantra.

sucks for me (1)

sgant (178166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083828)

I'm here on SBC (now AT&T) DSL, and actually, haven't had an ounce of problems with my connection for the past 2 years. It's been stellar actually.

But the only high speed alternative in my area is Comcast....and it will be a very very VERY cold day in Hell before I ever go back to Comcast.

Re:The last straw (1)

claygate (531826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083855)

Welcome to the home of Nex-Tech Internet. 2005 was a busy and exciting year for us and 2006 looks to be even better. We upgraded our Internet connections to both Sprint and AT&T to OC3's to maintain our goal of having the largest Internet backbone in western Kansas. We lowered our web hosting pricing and added some additional features to each plan also.

The issue goes deeper as many smaller ISPs send their data directly to the big guys anyway.

how aprapos (0, Troll)

tddoog (900095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083710)

Nothing to see here, Please move along.

Thank you for the humor slashdot.

Would try to say something worth while... (0, Redundant)

mixonic (186166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083713)

...and get the Karma...but I'm so fucking shocked confused and angry. What the hell?

-mix

One big question (3, Insightful)

Juiblex (561985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083714)

How do they know it?

Re:One big question (3, Insightful)

FhnuZoag (875558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083740)

Presumeably, one employee at AT&T had a shred of human decency and decided to leak this information.

Don't worry. He'll be hunted down.

Re:One big question (2, Insightful)

Intron (870560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083792)

All they need is for him to make one phone call.

Re:One big question (0, Troll)

dpilot (134227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083872)

Poor guy, Gitmo for him.

I would love to cancel my AT&T / SBC services (3, Interesting)

dbc001 (541033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083715)

I would love to cancel my AT&T / SBC services but... my rental agreement requires that I have a phone line for my security system. What can I do? If I complain to AT&T no one will care.

Re:I would love to cancel my AT&T / SBC servic (3, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083807)

Get an analog cell phone. Get a data adaptor for it. (it's just an RJ-11 jack that plugs into the cell, and makes it act like a landline)

Yes, the cell phone has to be analog. Digital phones don't give you this option, due to the lossy compression.

Alternately, get a VOIP service that works with fax systems (important - takes more bandwidth, costs more money, but has not as lossy compression as cheap VOIP), and a good UPS.

Re:I would love to cancel my AT&T / SBC servic (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083813)

You are on /. You are a geek or know lots of geeks. Get your security system rewired to use a cell phone instead of a land line.

Re:I would love to cancel my AT&T / SBC servic (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083819)

There are different phone companies. Most areas have a lot of choices. There's about a dozen choices where I live, and it's no metropolis.

Re:I would love to cancel my AT&T / SBC servic (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083895)

This is irrelevant. AT&T still owns a huge share of the land-lines, and of the trans-continental and trans-oceanic links, which is where such monitoring devices would be place. Just because the phone in your house, or your local ISP, is secure doesn't mean your traffic is safe.

We're the phone company ..... (2, Funny)

Tuirn (717203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083861)

Obligatory SNL sketch:

Here at the Phone Company we handle eighty-four billion calls a year. Serving everyone from presidents and kings to scum of the earth. We realize that every so often you can't get an operator, for no apparent reason your phone goes out of order [plucks plug out of switchboard], or perhaps you get charged for a call you didn't make.

We don't care.

Watch this - [bangs on a switch panel like a cheap piano] just lost Peoria.

You see, this phone system consists of a multibillion-dollar matrix of space-age technology that is so sophisticated, even we can't handle it. But that's your problem, isn't it ? Next time you complain about your phone service, why don't you try using two Dixie cups with a string.

[loud, booming voice-over] We don't care. We don't have to. We're the Phone Company.

Easy (2, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083723)

AT&T has been forwarding internet traffic directly into the hands of the NSA
Well this should be easy enough to check for, just use traceroute, right?

Re:Easy (2, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083742)

Well, assuming you're serious, the smmary says "forwarding to", not "routing via", so traceroute won't help you as it can't tell you where *copies* of all your packets are going.

Re:Easy (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083771)

Well this should be easy enough to check for, just use traceroute, right?

Wrong. They are actually mirroring ports at the core routers.

Re:Easy (1)

Ghostx13 (255828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083774)

No, the only way a traceroute would reveal anything is if AT&T was routing traffic through the NSA. Even then the hops at the NSA wouldn't return any data. No most likely (didn't RTFA) what AT&T is doing is du plicating packets and sending those to the NSA who inspects them and disgards ones they don't find interesting.

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083787)

Well this should be easy enough to check for, just use traceroute, right?

No. Not at all. SPAN / Mirror port on a switch sends a copy of all traffic to the monitor port. It's also not problem to:
tcpdump -i 40geth0 > NSA
Neither will change the path of your traffic and therfore won't show up in a traceroute.

Re:Easy (0, Redundant)

Ghostx13 (255828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083808)

No, the only way a traceroute would reveal anything is if AT&T was routing traffic through the NSA. Even then the hops at the NSA wouldn't return any data. No most likely (didn't RTFA) what AT&T is doing is du plicating packets and sending <i>those</i> to the NSA who inspects them and disgards ones they don't find interesting.

Re:Easy (3, Informative)

Homology (639438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083810)

AT&T has been forwarding internet traffic directly into the hands of the NSA

Well this should be easy enough to check for, just use traceroute, right?

It is just a matter of duplicating all the packets that traverses a router. Properly done you will not notice this.

Re:Easy (2, Informative)

rob_osx (851996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083885)

I used to work for a telecommunications company that made digital cross connects. The system that I worked on was small, it only carried close to 200,000 phone calls at once.

On several occasions providers (SBC, MCI, Sprint) called us to help them comply with a federal wire tap. Our systems were made in a way such that you could not tell if a tap was being done, whether it was voice or data. Hardware duplicated the data and sent the copy to any location they wanted.

I think you would be amazed on how much the government listen to without anyone knowing, including most of the government. The right hand truely doesn't know what the left hand is doing.

Out of control ? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083727)


at what point do you realise that the current administration is out of control , perhaps when soldiers are knocking on your door ?

seems like the enemy is very much within, isn't democracy wonderful

Re:Out of control ? (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083865)

seems like the enemy is very much within

Which is exactly why we need a state crackdown, and to spy on our own civilians! Who knows what the Enemy Within might be plotting? It would be disastrous if one of these people, with no respect for the rights and traditions of Western civilisation, were to infiltrate the corridors of power - imagine the damage that could be done!

Gee, how long will it take... (3, Insightful)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083729)

I wonder, how long will it take for our government to realize that most of us take our rights pretty damn seriously, as they are the major reason why so many people like living here? Or, perhaps, we just need to put of a few signs at every protest and rally reading something along the lines of "Please remember to read the god damn Constitution and Bill of Rights before you do anything else."

Re:Gee, how long will it take... (5, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083796)

The problem is, MOST of us don't take our rights pretty damn seriously. When the patriot act was passed, people cheered the gub'ment for protecting them. Our society is complacent, living on the opinions spoonfed to them by a goverment that lies through its teeth to obtain its goals, and a corporate media that manipulates the information they recieve so they either don't realize or don't care that the government is giving more and more power to big business while taking away the rights of the average Joe.

Look at the issues in the elections, its all about gay marriage (taking away someone's rights to make them live the way you want them to) and other meaningless bullshit. No one is going to get elected running on a platform of restoring personal freedom. And that's truly sad.

Re:Gee, how long will it take... (5, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083869)

This is how liberty dies. To thunderous applause.

Re:Gee, how long will it take... (1)

LiLWiP (918943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083887)

And our school system and the poor parenting that continuously takes place in this country is leading to our children being even more complacent. I am infuriated by this but no more so than I am by surveys that show that 23% of all americans believe that the first amendment goes TOO FAR in the rights it guarantees!
This will not end until we begin valuing our liberties and fighting for them with our dollars and our votes.

Re:Gee, how long will it take... (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083809)

I wonder, how long will it take for our government to realize that most of us take our rights pretty damn seriously....


When in fact most of us actually DO take our rights seriously - seriously enough to make the government suffer the consequences when they capriciously violate our rights, e.g. by voting them out.

As long as they continue to get away with violating our rights with no meaningful consequences, then they can safely conclude that most of us do NOT, in fact, take our rights seriously.

Re:Gee, how long will it take... (5, Insightful)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083825)

I wonder, how long will it take for our government to realize that most of us take our rights pretty damn seriously

The scariest part is I don't know how true that is. Now I have no scientific polling or anything but just the people I speak to it seems the majority have the opinion:

- If your not doing anything wrong what are you worried about?
or
- Well we have to take care of our national security first before any rights really matter

That a government will so readily abuse its power is certainly not a suprise (disturbing but entirely predictable). However, the ease with which so many citizens seem ready to give up protections we have taken for granted is the scariest part (at least to me).

Re:Gee, how long will it take... (2, Interesting)

'nother poster (700681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083856)

Um... They will realize it when a majority of the citizens in America actually DO take their rights seriously. There are huge numbers of people that I have met that are not just willing, but eager to give up their rights for security. They are happy to do this because the people who will be tread upon are people they do not know. They are not their friends and familiy, they are "Those People." The people who are abdicating their rights do so not realizing that as rights errode and laws become broader and more encompasing, that they and theirs will eventually be swept up in the "gill net" of justice.

Re:Gee, how long will it take... (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083881)

I wonder, how long will it take for our government to realize that most of us take our rights pretty damn seriously, as they are the major reason why so many people like living here?

Sorry the major reason so many people are living here are the amount of jobs and openness to capitalism.. AKA the 'American Dream". Now of course an over controlling government will eventually destroy this, but the average person doesn't worry about their freedoms, even though these freedoms are the main reason that American is so successful today.

Well, this sucks (0, Troll)

zaren (204877) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083733)

I just signed up with them for DSL after waiting for years for it to become available, just to get away from the Comcast monopoly. Time to find me a traffic anonymizer while I clear from the Comcast "old users" list.

Re:Well, this sucks (2, Interesting)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083871)

That won't help if they do it correctly. You would need secure, encrypted connections between you and your annonomizer and even then, it really isn't that difficult to break 128bit keys anymore. They have the full contents off all your incomming and outgoing data traffic. In fact, going to an annonimizer will more likely FLAG you then it will if you do what "normal" people do.

Volume? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous MadCoe (613739) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083736)

Hmmm, I'm wondering how much traffic that actually is, sounds like some set-up they have there, if they can forward all the customer's traffic.
Would be nice to have a look at that kit.

Email isn't protected communications. (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083743)

Email, where you surf, and im messages are not considered protected private communications. It is in the same category as a post card. Unlike a letter or phone call there isn't any expectation of privacy on network communications.
Before anyone screams that they should be protected just remember if it was protected then using a network sniffer would become illegal! You can not have it both ways.
If you want private communications then use encryption, the phone, or send a letter.
The person that wrote this was trying to inflame people or doesn't understand what communications are protected and are not.

Re:Email isn't protected communications. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083805)

TFA links to an earlier article [spamdailynews.com] :

EFF alleges that AT&T, in addition to allowing the NSA direct access to the phone and Internet communications passing over its network, has given the government unfettered access to its over 312 terabyte "Hawkeye" database, detailing nearly every telephone communication on AT&T's domestic network since 2001

Phones aren't nearly as safe as you think.

Re:Email isn't protected communications. (4, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083814)

I don't know why the FSF's lawyers bother to take these cases to court. There are hundreds of qualified, informed judges here on slashdot, just waiting for their inevitable promotion to the Supreme Court.

Re:Email isn't protected communications. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083890)

The FSF isn't takeing it to court. They filed a brief.
And if all lawyers are always correct in their opinions of the law then we wouldn't need judges or juries.
However the logic is very simple.
All internet communications are protected. All packet sniffing including war driving is illegal without a court order.

Email is clear text sent on the network as is most IM.

Re:Email isn't protected communications. (2, Funny)

Peyna (14792) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083836)

The "Cone of Silence" is the only way to ensure fully protected communications.

Re:Email isn't protected communications. (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083898)

>It is in the same category as a post card.

Oh is it now? What precendent are you quoting exactly your honor?

What is and isn't private and what is protected is much bigger legal matter than just announcing there is no expectation of privacy. Not to mention what court are you quoting? Which case? Which circuit?

This also ignores varius state-wide privacy protection laws and possibly constituional law considering this data is going straight to an intelligence agency.

Sorry, but its not as cut and dried as you think. Lastly, I can run a sniffer on my network, but when I run one on yours, guess what, I've broken more than a couple laws.

Re:Email isn't protected communications. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083905)

No there is not an "expectation" of privacy. We know it can be looked at when the data is unencrypted. BUT while we all know there is no expectation of privacy when we mail a postcard, what would you think if the the Post Office started photocopying every single postcard and sending them to the feds????

I've gotten way too cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083749)

For some reason I just don't find this to be too surprising. That is what bothers me. My intitial reaction ought to be something more along the lines of "WTF?!?!?! Let's go burn the f*ckers down!"
The best I can muster these days is a shrug and a "meh".

I endeavor to spend the rest of my day trying to get angry about this like any person concerned about their liberty should

No Such Communications. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083750)

"'More than just threatening individuals' privacy, AT&T's apparent choice to give the government secret, direct access to millions of ordinary Americans' Internet communications is a threat to the Constitution itself. We are asking the Court to put a stop to it now.'""

Something for all you geeks to do tonight. Come up with a cable/DSL modem that encrypts ALL forms of communication end to end. The hard part will be getting everyone else to use it.*

*BTW Remember Splinter Cell was created exactly because of things like encryption.

Damn that's a lot of Data (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083752)

the NSA would need a massive system to handle just the incoming data let alone one to sort through it.

It's more likely that the NSA just has Taps into the lines and can sort through the streams as they pass by.

if someone tell's me it's for homeland security to monitor our own citizens in such a fashion I would begin to demand we impeach Bush.

One can only truely lead by example. So if your a fear mongering warlord wanna-be so will your population be held in fear.

Re:Damn that's a lot of Data (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083841)

In 1999, I worked as a contract engineer for a Linux consulting company. We delivered kernel enhancements for the Linux kernel on the Alpha processor to the NSA. The enhancements we to reduce TLB miss overhead when doing comparisons and searches on large amounts of data. The benchmark run to test it was a keyword search through a stream of e-mails. This was to run on a *massive* cluster of Alpha machines. I would guess they've upgraded it several times since then.

1999 was while Clinton was still president, BTW.

(Posted anonymously, for obvious reasons. Though I've probably given enough information that they could narrow it down to about 10 people.)

Maybe (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083755)

Something might be happening. What is it? We don't know.

Kent: Hordes of panicky people seem to be evacuating the town for
                      some unknown reason. Professor, without knowing precisely
                      what the danger is, would you say it's time for our viewers
                      to crack each other's heads open and feast on the goo inside?

Professor: Mmm, yes I would, Kent. [snpp.com]

It begins (4, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083757)

When, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation

Separation of... (2, Insightful)

cunamara (937584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083758)

church and state is mandated in the U.S. Constitution. Too bad that separation of big business and state wasn't similarly mandated. Why it that the "party of limited government" (the Republicans) is also the party of most intrusive and least ethical government?

Re:Separation of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083851)

And Waco (remember Billy C and his Democrats) was ethical?!!!

Re:Separation of... (2, Informative)

James Kilton (714163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083888)

Um, no it's not. You won't find those words ANYWHERE in the Constitution. The whole concept of Seperation of Church and State was mentioned in a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote after the drafting on the Constitution. What the founding fathers wanted to stop was a system to where the Church IS the State. The Constitution in no way prohibits any and all dealings with a church or religion.

Details... (4, Insightful)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083759)

First, if they're really doing this, we need full details.

Now, are they talking about forwarding ALL AT&T traffic to NSA? I find that really really hard to believe. How much data is that? Can someone point to some known tech that can handle that....ALL that data? I'm not asking for "secret-I-bet-they-have-cold-fusion-computers" BS tech that someone *thinks* the NSA has.

Second, this is just an accusation. There's one guy that has some documents that say that's what AT&T is doing. For all we know, this guy could be wearing tin-foil hats and singing to his dog about the aliens. He's doing this through the EFF, which to me doesn't lend much to this accusation, considering how they've handled things in the past. They don't exactly have a great track record.

We need details, people, details.

Re:Details... (1)

jyoull (512280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083875)

Now, are they talking about forwarding ALL AT&T traffic to NSA? I find that really really hard to believe. How much data is that? Can someone point to some known tech that can handle that....ALL that data? I'm not asking for "secret-I-bet-they-have-cold-fusion-computers" BS tech that someone *thinks* the NSA has.

What's so hard to believe? It's just traffic that AT&T are already forwarding to/thru/across AT&T networks... so by virtue of the simple existence of this traffic, there's plainly enough capacity out there, and then some, to "handle" it.

AT&T also, according to EFF, have give the NSA unfettered access to their "Daytona" database of the source and destination of every phone call ever placed on their network going back to Fred Flintstone's first called-in sick day down at the quarry.

It's all just a cover story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083760)

AT&T is forwarding it to the NSA who are actually forwarding it to... AT&T!

Everyone knows that the phone companies are really the ones in charge, see The Presiden't Analyst [imdb.com] for proof.

Constitutional violation (2, Insightful)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083764)

From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]
The Fourth Amendment guards against searches, arrests, and seizures of property without a specific warrant or a "probable cause" to believe a crime has been committed. A general right to privacy has been inferred from this amendment and others by the Supreme Court...

Re:Constitutional violation (2, Insightful)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083845)

The bill of rights also gives you:

The right to a trial (jose padilla)
Due process (rest of the gitmo detainees)
Protection from cruel and usual punishment (um, hello?)
Right to peaceably assemble (protests at RNC and Presidential Inauguration)
Prevention of the federal government from assuming powers not granted in the constitution (war on drugs)

Get in line, bub.

Would you PLEASE (1)

murderlegendre (776042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083863)

Would you PLEASE stop waving the US Constitution in my face? After all, it's just a god damned piece of paper

Re:Constitutional violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083901)

What most people fail to realize is is the intent of the framers of the Consitution was not to enumerate the only protected rights in the Bill of Rights. There was a large debate at even including a Bill of Rights as they feared future governments would take the view that rights not listed in the Constitution or Bill of Rights are not protected. In the past few years that I have been paying attention to the news and the Government, it seems that they have taken this latter view of if it is not explicitly listed, it is not protected.

History Lesson (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083767)

The Internet began as a small group of networked U.S. military and educational institutions, correct? Things since the late 60's/early 70's certainly have grown into global proportions, but at the heart of the U.S. portion of the Internet doesn't the government still maintain a stake in things?

I can echo the sentiments of the first poster regarding the (lack of) coincidence that AT&T forwarded over the traffic nearly concurrent with the U.S. government approving of the AT&T/SBC merger. That is fishy. But as for me I don't have anything I feel that I need to hide so I could care less that the U.S. government might have snippets of my own mundane life. As long as they don't max out my credit card or something...

Re:History Lesson (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083831)

I guess no one truly "owns" the Internet, which is probably A Good Thing(TM). Here's one recent article I ran across --> http://edition.cnn.com/2005/TECH/12/02/spark.inter net.ownership/index.html [cnn.com] . But perhaps I've become numb to the Patriot Act regime, since I really don't care if the government is sniffing my network traffic.

how sad (1)

na641 (964251) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083780)

As horrible as this is, i'm really not so surprised. However, what concerns me even more is the fact that noone will do anything. There won't be any public outcry. There will be no protests demanding the return of our constitutional rights. Of course we all know this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened. I find it horrific that our previous president went to trial for receiving 'oral service' from a woman while our current one is pretty much destroying all of our civil rights and noone seems to care.

Not surprised at all.... (0, Flamebait)

z-kungfu (255628) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083781)

this sort of thing has been going on for a while. Same with the phone tapping. Digital lines made it really easy to tap the phones without being able to detect it. And I'm sure it's completely undetectable as far as the data traffic is concerned... Those bastards need a good swift kick...

Can't believe this..... (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083788)

I can't believe that they'd even have a system capable of doing this. The kind of system they need would have to be massivce and working for a government entity myself I can't even believe that they'd get this kind of deal through congress.....on the otherhand most of congress are imbeciles so i gues sit could be possible.

What does it take? (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083795)

You know what the irony in this is? We make hideous fun of countries like China where this kind of thing is standard operating procedure, but when we do it, it's supposedly to protect us from the terrorists. How does something like this come about?

I can't repeat this quote enough:

Of course the people don't want war...But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger.
Hermann Goering [wikipedia.org]

The question burning in my mind is this: How much will it take? How far does the government have to go before everyone says, "Enough!" and finally recognizes the greater danger that we're all in? How badly does our government have to act before people take up the call to arms and start rioting in the streets of this outrageous behavior?

For all the I-have-nothing-to-hiders out there, let me make it clear: I do have things that I'd rather stay hidden, and it's none of your damn business, and none of George W. Bush's damn business, what they are. And whenever a government goober tells me, "Trust me," that's the first sign that I shouldn't. We shouldn't have to blindly trust the government, that's why we friggin' fought England over 200 years ago!

Needless to say, I'm sure as hell glad I don't have AT&T, because it saves me the trouble of cancelling my account and writing a nasty letter about why.

Re:What does it take? (1)

pastpolls (585509) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083864)

Nice rant, it is a shame what they are doing will be proven to be legal. The internet is not a form of secure communications and you would have a very hard time proving an expectation of privacy. If you were to send encrypted information, I bet the government would require a warrant to decrypt it if they ever expected to be able to use it in court.

PS. If I wanted to, I could sniff all of the packets coming from your servers.

More thoughts to chew on (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083867)

Oh, and a couple more things I forgot to mention. (Damn, they're things I say a lot, too. I don't know how I forgot it.)

I am much more afraid of the danger my own government poses to my freedom and liberty than any threat the terrorists pose. If you were smart, after reading articles like this, you would be, too. How many people have died over the centuries to protect our freedom? While I certainly sympathize with the victims' families, are those 3,500 that died on September 11, 2001, really worth giving it all up for? Are all the other lives that have been lost that meaningless?

The other thing is that even if you do trust George W. Bush to read your e-mail, see what web sites you visit, wiretap your phones without warrants, arrest you as an "enemy combatant" and hold you for years without charging you or letting you see a lawyer, and whatever the hell else he's doing, let me ask you this: How much do you trust Hillary Clinton? Because if she's our next president, and it's looking like she may stand a decent chance, those are exactly the powers that you're giving her by letting your government goobers abuse you like they are now.

I don't give a damn who is president. Even if Jesus Christ came down from heaven and won as a third-party candidate, I wouldn't want Him to have the executive powers that George W. Bush have been claiming.

forward them spam (1)

brys (151801) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083802)

Forward all spam to postmaster@nsa.gov :) So much to analyze :)

One word - ECHELON (1)

TallDave (916610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083816)

Come on, is anyone really that surprised or outraged? This predates the Internet.

It's all fun and games till someone is plotting to simultaneously nuke NY, LA, and DC.

Changing ISP won't help... (1)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083818)


You can not choose where your traffic routes over the Internet, it's upto the individual networks to coose their own routing policy with their peers and transit providers.

So, even if you change ISP to say mister bob's DSL then he may use AT&T upstream or the dodgy pr0n site you visit may be somewhere just off of the AT&T network so your traffic will still pass through AT&T and therefore, if the claims are true, to the NSA.

And This is a surprise... (0, Troll)

dbesade (745908) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083823)

Everyone, Remember this is the president that has implied that we are all guilty as terrorists until proven innocent. Bush authorized AT&T to do this "Dragnet" and frankly they were stupid enough to do it. This will hopefully spawn a mass exodus away from AT&T's Voice and Data infastructure. What I'm concerned about isn't just the home data connections, but what about major DataCenters that have AT&T Peering? I'm wondering if that secure private data off the servers in those datacenters is being chewed up by the NSA? At any rate screw them, their prices suck, their cell phones BLOW, and their data services is unreliable (now at least we know why... NSA looking up all those nude pictures of Chelsey Clinton).

How is that news ? (2, Insightful)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083830)

What did you think the NSA was for ?

China Vs. USA (2, Insightful)

protich (961854) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083833)

Same. The only difference is that China does it openly. Openess is honourable in my book.

It doesn't matter if you are a customer (3, Insightful)

44BSD (701309) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083846)

People saying they will switch away from AT+T for their DSL or whatever are missing an important point. Because of peering arrangements, your traffic almost certainly goes over AT+T's lines, regardless of who your ISP is.

And to think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083853)

we voted this administration in for a second term? There really is no one to blame but ourselves right now.

par for the course (1)

Intangion (816356) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083854)

did anyone notice also that a republican committee recently shot down the net neutrality bill that wouldve stopped AT&T from abusing their position to extort more money from web companies?

also anyone else think its bullshit that our tax dollars went towards AT&T and the other telcos to create fiberoptic networks, which they didnt finish, dont use, we cant use, they kept the money, and they charged us for it again anyway.. so basically they got free millions of dollars from tax payers and no strings attached.. and the right to set up a monopoly

i'm not saying i want the goverment and the big corporations to stop all corruption completely (cause i know thats IMPOSSIBLE) but could they at least not rub it in our faces SO BLATENTLY... i mean seriously, can we at least try to carry on the sham of a functioning system for another decade or so?

THE SKY IS FALLING! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083859)

Oh my god the sky is falling! Come on Chicken Little, the NSA has been in cahoots with the telco's since 47. They vacuum up data from every feed going out or in. This isn't an issue until they start reading your mail without presidential and or court permission.

Media melodrama, scare mongering, this is a big fat, non-issue. Quit being some politicians or the media's or some other interests groups patsy.

You give . . . (1)

rbannon (512814) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083868)

. . . the government ~50% of your labor and you want to be treated fairly. Please, just give this a rest, and until we beat these bastards back to a meager ~1% taxation rate, we will continue to be treated as their 'bitch-whore.'

suckers (1)

stewie's deuce (953163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083891)

man, many of you slashdotters believe everything you read. SpamDailyNews? wtf?

Knock On My Door After the Next Election (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15083894)

Someone come get me out of my bunker after the Bush administration leaves...to see if there is light at the end of the tunnel. I'm 32 years old and I truly feel like moving to another country, and might just do it. Makes me so sad, that we have lost so much freedom in this country in so little time.

It's not ALL internet traffic (3, Interesting)

Honorbound (521347) | more than 8 years ago | (#15083903)

AT&T apparently gave NSA access to databases containing telephone call logs, email content, and web addresses visited, not the raw stream of bits going through their routers. More sources: Wired [wired.com] and The Register [theregister.co.uk] . So it's not all internet traffic.

Still an egregious abuse of privacy, IMHO, and one of the reasons I donate to the EFF.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>