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AT&T Seeks to Hide Spy Docs

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the let-me-know-how-that-works-out dept.

157

UltimaGuy writes to mention a Wired article about some AT&T documents that have gone off the farm. An ex-employee provided some information to the EFF, to assist in their wiretapping case against the company. Ma Bell is now arguing the files are confidential, and shouldn't be used in a court case. From the article: "The documents, which the EFF filed under a temporary seal last Wednesday, purportedly detail how AT&T diverts internet traffic to the National Security Agency via a secret room in San Francisco and allege that such rooms exist in other AT&T switching centers."

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157 comments

no fourth amendment protections here. (4, Insightful)

taumeson (240940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120116)

If a civilian has the docs, they can go after him, but there's no fourth amendment protections here. It'd take somebody in the administration classifying them to make them officially restricted.

Just cause AT&T doesn't want them out there doesn't mean squat.

Re:no fourth amendment protections here. (1)

chiphart (791140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120273)

It'd take somebody in the administration classifying them to make them officially restricted.

The irony of this statement these days is too thick to comprehend at 9:30 in the morning.

Re:no fourth amendment protections here. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120294)

It'd take somebody in the administration classifying them to make them officially restricted.

And we all know how this administration loathes secrecy.

Solution: Philip Zimmermann's Zfone (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120117)

You may recall that Philip Zimmermann was the subject of a criminal investigation over ten years ago over a little asymmetric key encryption program he wrote and made available online.

Recently, he has worked to give the world a very simple program that will encrypt voice communications for any SIP VoIP. It's called Zfone [philzimmermann.com] and this news about AT&T working with the NSA covertly is all the more reason you should use it.

I believe Slashdot covered [slashdot.org] Zfone's release a month ago.

As an American, I value my anonymity and ability to communicate without concern of eaves dropping very highly. I hope to see some VoIP services possibly use Zfone or some level of encryption as a default out of the box feature in the future. If you're concerned for your privacy, read up on Zfone and find out how easy it is to use!

Re:Solution: Philip Zimmermann's Zfone (4, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120191)

It's good to see that Zimmerman believes strongly in making the source code [philzimmermann.com] available. When PGP was first released, Zimmerman disseminated the source as widely as possible, even having it printed and bound [amazon.com] . One of the reasons PGP went downhill after it was taken over by a large corporation was the decision to give customers a security product with no way of knowing it was secure.

Re:Solution: Philip Zimmermann's Zfone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120346)

What happens if the gov. has the ability to break these encryptions? Now, you have told the gov where to look!

OTH, if you use stegnography (increase the noise to signal in an intelligent manner) perhaps with the data encrypted, now, you have a great deal more anonyminity.

Re:Solution: Philip Zimmermann's Zfone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120514)

FreeSWITCH has srtp now. Check out www.freeswitch.org [freeswitch.org] /b

Legal Action (2, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120122)


I just wonder how long it will be before Mark Klein is repaid for his heroic and patriotic act with legal action from AT&T, a la Stephen Heller / Diebold.

Re:Legal Action (1)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121379)

I just wonder how long it will be before Mark Klein is repaid for his heroic and patriotic act with legal action from AT&T, a la Stephen Heller / Diebold

what i want to know is how long is it going to be before we start boycotting at&t? c'mon! i already changed my webmail provider to one that didn't traceroute over obviously at&t-owned lines. it's fun and easy!

FP....HEY... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120131)

I made a first post here, but now it does not exist anymore because it is declared "sensitive". 8(

Hold (4, Funny)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120145)

The EFF declined to comment on the filing, while AT&T did not return a call seeking comment.

The call was placed in a queue while all available agents were attending to other customers.

Re:Hold (5, Funny)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120166)

The call was placed in a queue while all available agents were attending to other customers.

This is known as the "far queue".

Re:Hold (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120352)

This is known as the "far queue".

What, as in "far queue and b00bies?" =)

Re:Hold (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120550)

Dude, that's hilarious. "far queue" indeed. I needed that.

Re:Hold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120668)

thanks for making my day.

it's the little things in life, folks.

Doesn't help fight terrorism (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120147)

The problem is that stuff like this DOES NOT help fight terrorism, as the NSA would content. It just makes it even harder to find the important intelligence, because it's drowned out by all the noise.

-Eric

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120185)

The problem is that stuff like this DOES NOT help fight terrorism, as the NSA would content. It just makes it even harder to find the important intelligence, because it's drowned out by all the noise.

First, this does help fight terrorism iff ALL traffic goes through it, and the terrorist uses it.

Now, with that said, what makes you think that this limited to ATT? Because people on /. have not seen it? because EFF has not found all the evidence?

Next what is making people think that Al Qaeda, who received CIA training (thanks to reagan) to survive, does not know that they will be monitored and is actively not on the wire?

The problem is that this system is targeted at terrorism, but with the patriot act, it allows all this power to actively be used against americans. Worse, we have now seen that the white house consists of cowards, liars, and traitors. There is no doubt that they are using this system for their personal use. If nothing else, do you remember the East Coast Democrat mayor who was being tracked? There is a LOT of circumstanstial evidence of the feds using all this against Americans. By itself, no big deal. By taken as a whole, and it should be apparent that we are not the land of the free, but we are recruiting the USSR but with capitalism thrown in.

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120312)

First, this does help fight terrorism iff ALL traffic goes through it, and the terrorist uses it.

No, because he's well hidden by the terrabytes of crap. Better to use less crude forms of intelligence to specifically target people like him in the first place, rather than just throwing a wide net over EVERYONE and praying that we notice the terrorist in the crowd.

Two fisherman:

One fisherman says "I'm going to fish for salmon. I'm going up to Alaska during this year's salmon run. And I'm using a salmon trap with a special bait that salmon really like."

The other fisherman says "I'm going to fish for salmon too. I've bought a huge net and am going to cast it into every body of water in the world. That way, I'm bound to catch salmon too."

Which do you think is most likely to prevail, based on a finite set of resources?

-Eric

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120505)

For all we know, that could just as well be some kind of code/secret message instead of a story about tow fisherman...

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120695)

Oh great, now you've blow my cover.

[hopping on a boat with a suitcase full of cash and a dirty bomb]

SO LONG, SUCKERS!!

-Eric

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120725)

Bad analogy. Its more like fishing Industry.And they catch all the fish they can.

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120761)

No, they target specific KINDS of fish with different techniques. Crab fishermen don't fish the same way as salmon fishermen.

They don't just drag the oceans with giant nets hoping they'll get something.

-Eric

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120874)

Crabs are Not fish.they are "decapod crustaceans" animals.

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121162)

Hey, if it's in the ocean, it's a fish. And that goes for crabs, dolphins, whales, and errant scuba divers too!

-Eric

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (4, Interesting)

typical (886006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120368)

The problem is that this system is targeted at terrorism, but with the patriot act, it allows all this power to actively be used against americans.

History teaches us that this should not be a surprise [wikipedia.org] . Give the federal government excessive police powers ("But we need to hunt *communists*!") and they *will* abuse it.

Hitler was ahead of his time. We already tried claiming that we needed expanded police powers to hunt "communists". Now we're claiming that we need them to hunt "terrorists". Hitler just took the Reichstag fire and demanded more powers because he needed to hunt "communist terrorists".

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120490)

And if you think that's bad you should try being a European these days. We can't do squat without piles of paperwork, anything as simple as opening a bank account now requires you go to your embassy and have your passport "certified" (for a $30 fee) before the bank will even talk to you.

Everything in the name of limiting terrorism.

As if Osama and his friends are bothered with banks, they use an old system of money handlers/transporters.

It's all just inconveniencing the rest of the world just because you guys needed some cheap oil! America, you're not making any friends with this govenment.

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120625)

F You Jackass. Our oil cost the same as yours,
we just don't pay an extra $5 a _GALLON_ to the
Queen to add another set of gold plating to her horse drawn carriage.

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120758)

No, but we subsidize ours by
  • invading or manipulating other nations (see the history of Iran over the last 60 years or venezuela or Iraq or ....).
  • hiding the true costs of roads by using general tax funds.
  • Delaying the costs of pollution.
  • Offering tax breaks to the industry while cutting tax breaks on alternatives/nukes.

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (1, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120727)

just because you guys needed some cheap oil!

Well, that and a bunch of fanatical Muslim nutballs who hate Christians, Jews, Westerners, and anyone else who doesn't worship their camel-jockey prophet.

-Eric

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (1)

skarphace (812333) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121414)

Well, that and a bunch of fanatical Muslim nutballs who hate Christians, Jews, Westerners, and anyone else who doesn't worship their camel-jockey prophet.

Oh yeah, because people hate for absolutely no reason.

The problem is a little more complex. They are pissed off at us because of our actions, not because of our values or religeon.

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120519)

Actually after 9/11 it came out that the NSA was giving WAY to much info to other agencies (that it was allowed to) the problem was, it was tiny nuggets of useful info in a sea of info that was just plain useless so the dots could not be really connected in what was provided.

Truth or Scare? (2, Insightful)

SpectralDesign (921309) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120393)

Yes and no.... In a perfect world, yes -- it would help fight terrorism; even if the terrorists are using encryption there is meta-data there to be mined.... when you cross-reference the data begin and end points you can still get the jist of what may be going on; do so with *ALL* traffic on the 'net and you can certainly learn something useful.

On the other hand, it would have been clear to a child that Osama and friends were going to take over commerical jets for nefarious deeds long before 9-11 if they'd had access to all the same information that was circulating in the 'intelligence community'. As you say, the problem was (in-part) the disability to tie all that information into a cohesive report that the top-brass would listen and react to in time to make a difference.

Gathering more information is useless if it's not properly filtered and disseminated.

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (5, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120428)

The problem is that stuff like this DOES NOT help fight terrorism, as the NSA would content.

No, that's not the problem. The problem is that they're spying on their own people as a matter of course, eavesdropping on our communications, reading our mail.

Whether or not it helps fight terrorism is irrelevant. Even if it could prevent another September 11th, it would still be unacceptable.

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (0)

deacon (40533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120910)

Uh-huh.

Well, if we lose the war against Islamic Global Domination, (you know, the one that Iran has been building the Bomb for) and people like this guy

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=2005 0_Saudi_Author-_Women_in_the_West_Marry_Dogs_and_D onkeys&only [littlegreenfootballs.com]

are in charge, you are going to wish that having your email read was your biggest problem.

After the adoption of Sharia Law, you can bleat about your precious liberty and privacy as you are taken away to be slowly hanged from a crane.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&as_qdr=all& q=girl+hanged+crane+iran+moral+crimes&btnG=Search [google.com]

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (2, Funny)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120973)

Wah! Everyone run and hide because there are some religious nuts in the world. They're so scary! Stop complaining about losing your rights to your own government because these guys live half way around the world and worry about your women marrying donkeys!

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (3, Insightful)

rossifer (581396) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121296)

Uh-huh.

Okay, so let me get this straight. Some Saudi author found some bestiality porn on the intarweb and determined that because a woman was having sex with a dog/donkey, she must have already been married to the dog/donkey because that's the only way to have sex. Dammit! He's got us. With that kind of trailblazing fact-finding, there's just no way to hide the fact that all western women are married to dogs or donkeys!

If you really want to pop his cork, send him some two on one bestiality porn. Ask if she's married to both critters.

The Islamic world has basically zero chance of economic significance (outside of the sale of resources like oil) because they forbid loans with interest, because they marginalize half of their population out of the economy, and ultimately: because quranic law is essentially anti-commerce.

Sure, they'll have a substantial population for as long as the resources last (and food aid after that), and there will be some casualties here and there, when some of those upset with the imbalance (of their own making) head off to kill some infidels. However, to be completely realistic, India and China are much larger long-term threats to US hegemony than the whole of the Muslim world.

Regards,
Ross

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (3, Insightful)

BVis (267028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121009)

Kind of OT, feel free to moderate as such:

This reminds me of an argument I had with someone a couple months ago regarding the importance of privacy vs. the importance of preventing terrorism. I argued that if we give up our privacy, sure, MAYBE they could gather enough intelligence and interpret it correctly to avoid another 9/11 - scale attack. (That's a BIG maybe. Personally I don't trust a government agency to tell me the sky is blue.) However, this doesn't protect American citizens.

That might not make sense until you take the position that once we give up those rights (which were so important to the Founding Fathers that they put them in the first few amendments to the constitution; I'm thinking first and fourth are most relevant) we are no longer American citizens. We're people who happen to live in the same country.

It's not worth giving up our national identity or constitutional rights/ideals for an indeterminate amount of increased security. The person I was arguing with said that if it saves just one life it's worth it; I said one life is not worth the subjugation of 300 million. It's not even close.

So then he trotted out the old "if you're not doing anything wrong what do you have to worry about" chestnut. I'm sorry, I don't want the US government to know who I talk to, who I associate with, what religon I observe, what newspapers I read, and what factors I consider when deciding when to take legal action. (Bonus points if you recognize what those five things have in common.) It's just not any of their business! Plus, it starts to have a chilling effect on what topics are "acceptable" to discuss and which ones make you an "enemy of the state". The temptation to abuse that information is just too great, and I don't trust an elected official to make that decision objectively. What one person considers treason (clearly illegal) another considers civil disobedience (legal so long as no other illegal acts are committed, protected by the Constitution.)

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120480)

Oh shut up, you'll get nuked sooner rather than later you dumbass religious fuck.

Re:Doesn't help fight terrorism (1)

sigzero (914876) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120659)

You are totally incorrect in that statement. I can guarantee you that it DOES indeed help fight terrorism.

So what? (4, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120154)

AT&T is seeking the return of technical documents presented in a lawsuit that allegedly detail how the telecom giant helped the government set up a massive internet wiretap operation in its San Francisco facilities.

In papers filed late Monday, AT&T argued that confidential technical documents provided by an ex-AT&T technician to the Electronic Frontier Foundation shouldn't be used as evidence in the case and should be returned.

Big whoop. Copy the documents and hand them back to AT&T. What's the problem? Now that the genie is out of the secret room, so to speak, how does AT&T think this is going to help? They've just received a pretty severe black eye, though most of the public really doesn't know the details, despite the publicity. If I were AT&T, I'd maintain a low profile -- raising a fuss only makes more people get interested in what's in the documents.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120310)

Still, even with a copy and even if they were "leaked" to the press/bloggers, as long as they can't be used in court (and assuming AT&T would win the court case) this will do nothing to prevent them from continuing such a practice. Is the certainty that the publicity would be so negative as to have them stop? I doubt it, and they could always continue to claim they aren't doing it when the reality is there is nothing legally stopping them.

Your world,delivered (to the NSA) (1)

Ranger (1783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120158)

Somehow the new AT&T doesn't seem a whole lot different than the old AT&T. They are like the T1000 from T2 [wikipedia.org] . It gets chopped up but re-forms. I remember an old cartoon, a Bloom County [berkeleybreathed.com] , I think, that showed the AT&T symbol and they screamed "Death Star!"

Re:Your world,delivered (to the NSA) (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120569)

Remember the old commercials?

Announcer: "privacy invasion, illegal spying, doing our part to bring the police state to America"

Cliff Robertson: "... and who's going to bring it to you? AT&T."

Land of the Free (2, Insightful)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120162)

And all of this in "The land of the Free". Makes you wonder.

Re:Land of the Free (1)

AnalystX (633807) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120201)

It is said that information wants to be free. This information was just going on a vacation.

error: it's "Land of the Fee" (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120203)

It used to be written with an "R" but for the last 6 years it has been changed without the public knowledge. Now it's the land of FEE FEE FEE PAY PAY PAY, sucker! We own You! Your supreme corporate chairman organization.

Re:error: it's "Land of the Fee" (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120735)

It used to be written with an "R" but for the last 6 years it has been changed without the public knowledge.

That wasn't malicious. That extra 'R' was just a longstanding typo that they got around to correcting.

A bit like the way they've left the extra 'L' out of the slogan on the money.

Re:Land of the Free (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120209)

Did anyone really believe in this stuff anyway ?
(I mean inside the US)

Re:Land of the Free (1)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120301)

All americans I know have escaped to The Netherlands and they believe that the US should be free.

And here there still not in "The land of the Free" but atleast they can smoke a joint without getting thrown in jail.

Re:Land of the Free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120220)

Make you wonder why this comment always gets made in every slashdot story and modded up. It's not insightful, it's not new, it's become a meme that has become obligatory.

For the record, Americans have never been freer right now in its history. Or did not realize women did not have the right to vote, and blacks were slaves.

Land of the Free indeed. No sarcasm needed. God bless America.

Re:Land of the Free (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120242)

"for the record, Americans have never been freer right now in its history."

I disagree, I think the tail end of the 90's where slightly more free. ;)

-Rick

The joy of democracy... (0)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120222)

You are free to vote for and elect a leader that will erode your civil liberties.

-Rick

Re:The joy of democracy... (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121223)

Modern elections for major offices here in America:

Two candidates (well, two that stand any chance of getting elected because the Libertarians are too fragmented)

(presidential debate on television)
Jack Johnson: It's time someone had the courage to stand up and say: I'm against those things that everybody hates!
John Jackson: I respect my opponent, I think he's a good man, but quite frankly I agree with everything he just said!

(at planet express)
Fry: These are the canidates? They sound like clones. Wait a minute. They are clones!
Leela: Don't let their identical DNA fool you. They differ on some key issues.

(presidential debate on television)
John Jackson: "It's time someone had the courage to stand up and say: I'm against those things that everybody hates."
Jack Johnson: "Now, I respect my opponent. I think he's a good man. But quite frankly, I agree with everything he just said."
John Jackson: "I say your three cent titanium tax goes too far."
Jack Johnson: "And I say your three cent titanium tax doesn't go too far enough."

Re:Land of the Free (1)

Ikkyu (84373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120760)

Well we certainly don't act like this is the home of the brave.

Re:Land of the Free (1)

wtansill (576643) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121156)

And all of this in "The land of the Free". Makes you wonder.
"Land of the Free!"*


*Some restrictions apply...

This proves it, of course. (4, Interesting)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120169)

The submitter didn't point out that if AT&T is claiming the documents are trade secrets, that means they're accurate. Made-up documents wouldn't be trade secrets.

In other words, AT&T has just admitted that they are spying on you.

Re:This proves it, of course. (1)

taumeson (240940) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120194)

So there are indeed some protections on these documents in that case....not to mention copyright, of course.

But all that means is that they'll stay sealed and part of the court case...they won't go public, but they won't be ignored.

Re:This proves it, of course. (4, Insightful)

tweakt (325224) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120387)

In other words, AT&T has just admitted that they are spying on you.

Sorry, but that's bullshit.

Defending your privacy has nothing to do with admitting guilt. Do you think there could possibly be trade secrets in those documents somehow unrelated to the charges against AT&T?

A good example here might be a court trying to admit as evidence your complete credit card purchase history in an attempt to prove acts of terrorism. Even if there was *nothing* in there linking you to terrorism, you might seriously object to the disclosure of it, would you not? And I just love double standard concept of law... Should have two versions of the law, one where corporations are Guilty until proven innocent?

I'd love to see them nailed against the wall as much as the next guy, but let's not become hypocrits in the process, ok? AT&T has the right to contest public disclosure of internal documents as much as you do.

Re:This proves it, of course. (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120653)

You don't get it, do you? They wouldn't object if the documents were fake. They would simply say, "those aren't real documents" and fight them.

The fact that they are claiming that the documents are private means they're correct.

Re:This proves it, of course. (2, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120911)

And I just love double standard concept of law... Should have two versions of the law, one where corporations are Guilty until proven innocent?

YES! People have rights - they're people. Corporations have no entitlement to the same rights.

Re:This proves it, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15121123)

This is a little different than the US vs. Google subpoena: first off, we have a real court case here (unlike in the other case, where apparently the administration thinks that it can get some kind of "proof" that their anti-porn law is constitutional from any location other than the text of the constitution). Secondly, this case has a specific wrongdoing: wiretap laws exist for a reason, and just because you're the telephone company doesn't make you above them (as opposed to Google, where there is no wrongdoing, just an attempt to strongarm a corporation into doing research for the DoJ because they're too lazy to type "porn" into google themselves).

That said, it is ATT's right to not voluntarially disclose anything about its actions, however a subpoena can and should be issued for these documents as they appear to be valid evidence for this case.

Re:This proves it, of course. (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121134)

If the cops run through your house looking for an escaped con running around your neighborhood, and happen upon your marijuana growing lab in your basement, you're gonna be busted.

Just like those people who were stuck in the snow in southern Oregon for a couple of weeks, where a couiple of them had outstanding warrants for their arrest in Arizona for methamphetamine production/distribution...

Re:This proves it, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15121415)

That's why you should always buy pr0n and 'toys' using only cash.

public disclosure? (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121497)

(quoting some Wired one-sentence paragraphs from the article)

"In papers filed late Monday, AT&T argued that confidential technical documents provided by an ex-AT&T technician to the Electronic Frontier Foundation shouldn't be used as evidence in the case and should be returned.

The documents, which the EFF filed under a temporary seal last Wednesday, purportedly detail how AT&T diverts internet traffic to the National Security Agency via a secret room in San Francisco and allege that such rooms exist in other AT&T switching centers."

These papers were filed under seal. Thanks to our government, and despite what the Constution says, you don't have to make documents public anymore to use them in court. AT&T isn't arguing against these documents being disclosed publicly, they are trying to remove them from evidence.

It's not the same, and it doesn't involve trade secrets or anything like that.

Besides, I don't see protection of trade secrets in the Constution. If the EFF has a legitimate Constutional challenge to make here, it trumps AT&T's trade secret protection anyway.

This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&T (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120176)

I'm worried about what kind of precedent this could set if these documents are allowed to be released.

So far, this case looks like one man who is pissed of at AT&T and now wants to harm them by releasing technical documents that he has no right to release. They contain trade secrets proprietary to AT&T that could help competitors. In addition, if this surveillence operation is true, then he may be harming national security be revealing it to the general public and alerting terrorists that they are being watched.

If he had a problem with this program, he could have argued it with AT&T first or the government. By going out and releaseing sensitive documents, this looks more like a bitter man with an axe to grind.

Re:This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&am (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120213)

In addition, if this surveillence operation is true, then he may be harming national security

No, the surveillence operation itself is harming national security. I am America, you are America. The government isn't supposed to be America, "We, the people" are supposed to be America.

Spy on me, you make me insecure. MY security from the government itself is national security.

I'd rather have Bin Laden kill half of Congress than give up my 4th amendment rights. Without our (now nearly worthless) Constitution, this isn't America.

I'm starting to worry that America died on 9/11. America's bravery sure died, and the America I used to know died.

Next November, please don't waste your vote on terrorists like the Republicans and Democrats -- vote third party!

Re:This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&am (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121213)

I'd rather have Bin Laden kill half of Congress than give up my 4th amendment rights.

Any particular half you have in mind?

Re:This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&am (1)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120226)

By going out and releaseing sensitive documents, this looks more like a bitter man with an axe to grind. Or a "whistleblower". Yes, people have the right to keep their personal information secret. No, a corporation is not a person, and needs to be held accountable to the population at large, especially when it is involved in covert operations with the NSA against the public. It would be a fallacy of composition to claim that they did.

Still, even if we do see AT&T held accountable, they will merely be a scapegoat. The NSA and the government will never be held accountable by anyone.

Re:This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120275)

The NSA and the government will never be held accountable by anyone.

One Word: Revolution

Re:This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&am (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120234)

he could have argued it with AT&T first or the government.

Have you ever tried to argue something with AT&T? I wanted to keep the old-school rotary phones my grandmother rented from AT&T for 20 years at $3/month. The bastards made me mail them back.

Re:This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&am (1)

bickle (101226) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120240)

They contain trade secrets proprietary to AT&T that could help competitors.

What trade secrets? Like how to illegally divert traffic to the NSA?

Re:This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&am (1)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120369)

What trade secrets? Like how to illegally divert traffic to the NSA?

I know you meant that sarcastically, but stop and think about the deeper issue in what you've said...

We need to ask ourselves, "WHY has AT&T provided traffic to the NSA?"

Companies do things for only two reasons - Profit, and to (grudgingly) comply with the law. So, AT&T either has established some form of commercial deal where the NSA pays them for data; or part of our new body of unknowable laws says that all sufficiently-large communication nexus must provide the spooks with a feed.


So, you could argue that releasing this information could help AT&T's competition either make money or to less burdensomly comply with secret laws.


Either way, I say fuck 'em all, they can have all my traffic and waste massive CPU time decrypting it just to find out what time I need to pick up my dry-cleaning. I'll still support the EFF, ACLU, and whoever else wants to take up this fight; but I learned long ago not to trust any organization (government or private) to behave in a particular way (ie, not spying on US citizens) just because our national code-of-fiction says so. The only liberty has a firing pin, and the only privacy has a unique private key.

Re:This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&am (2)

popeguilty (961923) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120296)

It's funny how people who cowardly value the illusion of safety over the reality of freedom will whore themselves out to Big Brother. "Take my freedoms!" they shout. "Take my rights! Take my liberties! Only make me feel a bit more secure, a bit more safe from the horrible bogeymen you've so kindly invented for me!" It makes me sick. Are you what the Founding Fathers fought for? Benjamin Franklin decried those who'd sacrifice their freedom for the illusion of security- and now one of the biggest voting blocs in the nation is the "Please, take my rights away and make me feel safe from this inflated threat!" You, sir, make me sick.

Re:This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&am (1)

deacon (40533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120971)

Oh, these imaginary, invented bogymen?

These figments of an overheated neocon imagination?

ahref=http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&as_qd r=all&q=beheading+video&btnG=Searchrel=url2html-29 874 [slashdot.org] http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&as_qdr=a ll&q=beheading+video&btnG=Search>

Right right, we made that all up.

Carry on, then!

Re:This Is Damaging to National Security and AT&am (2, Insightful)

popeguilty (961923) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121051)

The threat to American citizens is massively overstated- you are far, far more likely to die in an accident, of a disease, or hell, even of a drug overdose than in a terrorist attack. Of all the potential causes of death in this country, terrorist strike is waaaaaay in the back. You're allowing yourself to be manipulated into being afraid, and allowing them to use your fear to destroy the liberties that make America great. Your fear is contemptible- your capitulation is disgusting.

One other thing (1, Insightful)

popeguilty (961923) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120351)

[alerting terrorists that they are being watched.]

What kind of idiot do you have to be to believe that terrorists don't realise they're being watched? I realise the "Take my rights away, please! They scare me!" crowd overlaps somewhat with the "Those Ay-rabs sure do enjoy having sex with camels!" crowd, but do you honestly believe al-Qaeda is stupid enough to not realise they're being surveilled?

"Overrated" Abuse- Again (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120392)

It's funny how this comment is now at -1 "Overrated". Considering it was never modded past +1, how can it possibly considered overrated?

I see the Nazi moderators are back in force to punish any opinions they don't agree with, disregarding the fact that it was ontopic and reasonable.

Typical.

Time for the Telco Mind Trick. (4, Funny)

Zephyros (966835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120178)

*waves hand* "These are not the documents you are looking for."

AT&T "internal" documents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120256)

How long untill someone finds AT&T selling these secret documents in the open for $13 to anyone asking this time?

Echelon (4, Insightful)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120264)

Echelon. I'm surprised no one has mentioned so far.

More info, for those who has never heard of it before:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON [wikipedia.org]

Re Your sig (1)

jahudabudy (714731) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121238)

We are posterity. We would like the Earth you borrowed from us back, please.

Screw future generations. What have they ever done for me? (I kid, I kid).

Re:Re Your sig (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121435)

Hehe. The idea was that since no one is taking the original saying seriously, I'd turn it on its head and point out that the damage is already done.

But I'm glad someone paid attention at any rate. =)

a quote for you to remember (1)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120274)

This seemed particularly relevant.

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

Confidentiality (4, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120276)

Ma Bell is now arguing the files are confidential, and shouldn't be used in a court case.

I feel for AT&T, I really do. I mean, how would I feel if someone decided to use all those confidential dead hookers in my personal, private basement as some sort of "evidence" in some "trial?" I'd be shocked, I tell you. Shocked.

If only at&t had TPM chips in their computers. (3, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120331)

If only at&t had fully deployed an email and document server which used the Trusted Platform Module [slashdot.org] to help "protect" the confidentiality of their documents, then they wouldn't have this little problem of the public finding out they're being "protected" by the nsa

Re:If only at&t had TPM chips in their compute (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120622)

And you know ... that's one of the best objections to Trusted Computing there is, and one of the most important reasons the big boys are pushing for it. That much less accountability (as if they really have any now, any bets AT&T gets off with a wrist-slap on this one? Anyone?)

whistleblower or not? (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120374)

so... let's hear from those with at least a little more legal knowledge than me (defined as some). How is his handing the papers to the EFF different than an ex-employee of a chemical company handing documents detailing improper waste disposal methods to the newspaper? If the court rules these documents inadmissable because of the company's IP concerns, wouldn't the same apply to the latter case?

Discuss amongst yourselves...

DARPA Ties (1)

misfit815 (875442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120431)

From TFA: Klein's duties included connecting new fiber-optic circuits to that room, which housed data-mining equipment built by a company called Narus, according to his statement. Ok, so from Narus' site, the profile of a member of the Board of Directors: William P. Crowell William P. Crowell is an independent security consultant and holds several board positions with a variety of technology and technology-based security companies. Since 9/11 he has served on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Task Force on Terrorism and Deterrence, the National Research Council Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism and the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. Bill's past positions have included President and Chief Executive Officer of Cylink, a leading provider of e-business security solutions as well as a series of senior positions at the National Security Agency, including Deputy Director of Operations and Deputy Director of the Agency. He has also served as chairman of the President's Export Council (PEC) Subcommittee on Encryption, which worked with the Administration, Congress and private industry to substantially loosen restrictions on the export of encryption products and technology. May the conspiracy theories commence!

Re:DARPA Ties (1)

misfit815 (875442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120452)

Curse you, HTML Formatting, curse you!

Let's try that again...

From TFA:

Klein's duties included connecting new fiber-optic circuits to that room, which housed data-mining equipment built by a company called Narus, according to his statement.

Ok, so from Narus' site, the profile of a member of the Board of Directors:

William P. Crowell

William P. Crowell is an independent security consultant and holds several board positions with a variety of technology and technology-based security companies. Since 9/11 he has served on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Task Force on Terrorism and Deterrence, the National Research Council Committee on Science and Technology for Countering Terrorism and the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age. Bill's past positions have included President and Chief Executive Officer of Cylink, a leading provider of e-business security solutions as well as a series of senior positions at the National Security Agency, including Deputy Director of Operations and Deputy Director of the Agency. He has also served as chairman of the President's Export Council (PEC) Subcommittee on Encryption, which worked with the Administration, Congress and private industry to substantially loosen restrictions on the export of encryption products and technology.

May the conspiracy theories commence!

Re:DARPA Ties (1)

lamebrane (962051) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120641)

Please mod this post UP! Very nice set of linkages (assuming they are all correct.)

National security to the rescue (2, Insightful)

grudgelord (963249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120497)

I vaguely recall a case in which an inventor was denied the right to pursue a patent infringement case based upon the grounds of government security concerns. Unfortunately, I cannot recall the specific circumstances of the case, perhaps someone else can help me clarify. Nevertheless...

If the government decides that this case threatens national security this case will never make it to the deposition stage...much less a trial hearing. AT&T merely has to seek intervention from the government on their behalf. With the corroboration of the government this case will get squelched in no time flat. And, in theory, all that should required is the statement that this technology was developed under contract for the US government. At this point such a statement should have little damning effect as our executive as effectively admitted outright to extra-judicial wiretapping.

On a slightly different note, am I the only one who is having flashbacks of the Echelon and FBI Carnivore projects?

Re:National security to the rescue (2, Informative)

Zephyros (966835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120685)

Re:National security to the rescue (1)

grudgelord (963249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120902)

That's the one!! Thank you.

If I'm reading this right, this article implies that the government's right to squelch cases on the grounds of national security aren't necessarily clearly enumerated (a vagary which favors the government in this case) thus all the weight of the case falls to precedent established in U.S. versus Reynolds. I'm not a lawyer but I could see a similar card being played here if the government decides not to leave AT&T to twist in the wind.

The deciding factor will be a PR matter in the in, I believe.

Wait a second... (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120520)

You're telling me that the place they're doing this is SAN FRANCISCO? Are you kidding me?

They don't think that people in that city would storm the offices where this is going on (well, supposedly going on)?

That's exactly what would happen. Wouldn't even matter if the story were true or not.

Re:Wait a second... (2, Funny)

grudgelord (963249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120983)

Sadly, the American public has become too apathetic to take any significant action on this or other questionable matters. Regardless of which side of the political fence you fall on there has been enough questionable activity by our government leaders as individuals or a collective that the outcry should have been louder than it has been. I just don't think people care anymore, or they believe that their voice won't be heard.

The best that can be hoped for is that people will flip-off the AT&T building as they go on paying their phone bills.

My Internet Traffic Was Confidential (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15120579)

They want to keep the documents out of court because they say they are confidential. Well what about my internet traffic that was intended to be confidential also. They had no problem sending that to the NSA. I say they loose any right they might have had to confidentiality. What is good for the goose is good for the gander!

Re:My Internet Traffic Was Confidential (1)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121071)

They want to keep the documents out of court because they say they are confidential. Well what about my internet traffic that was intended to be confidential also. They had no problem sending that to the NSA. I say they loose any right they might have had to confidentiality. What is good for the goose is good for the gander!

You mean your unencrypted, sniffable-by-anyone-with-a-laptop, personal private internet traffic? The same internet traffic that your TOS with the ISP says can be sniffed and monitored for any reason?

That's the biggest load of crap I've read. If you have ANY delusions of private internet traffic, you have bigger problems than AT&T forwarding it to the NSA.

Why is this AT&T's problem? Why aren't more people speaking out against the government on this? AT&T is most likely dealing with a Patriot Act issue, trying to stay in business, and everyone is acting like their puppy got run over. Put the blame where it belongs. The government.

your call is important to us (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15120674)

Thank you for continuing to hold. For security and training purposes, this call and previous and future calls may be monitored. Please enter your 10-digit phone number. Thank you. Your call will be routed to the unBilling department, where agents will shame you into forgetting about that double-charge on your bill by reminding you of what kind of porn you like to view and relaying your mp3 data to the RIAA.. Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold as authorities converge on your residence.

Privacy has always been a joke... (1)

bjheu (854460) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121045)

Expecting your unencrypted copper lines to not be tapped is equivalent to undressing in your bathroom with non-frosted windows and expecting nobody to look. Just because the government is required to get warrants to admit the evidence in court doesn't mean that they have gotten a warrant for every tap ever done, typically they can glean info on where to find more evidence.

Also, don't you think that line technicians for phone companies haven't overheard everything from illegal to racy conversations? I'm pretty sure that if in the course of checking lines he overhears a blurb about illegal stuff he can call the police and relay a tip.

So I say again telecom privacy is a flimsy protection at best, only you can ensure your own privacy.

Irresistible fallacious cheap shot (2, Interesting)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15121300)

If ATT's not doing anything wrong, what have they got to hide?
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