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 Invents Surveillance Programming Language

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the code-breathing-on-the-other-end-of-your-phone dept.

Security 119

An anonymous reader writes "AT&T has long been associated with advances in the programming arts as well as communications. They've recently brought those disciplines together to create a powerful datamining language called Hancock. Hancock is a C variant developed to mine gigabytes of the company's telephone and internet records for surveillance purposes. 'The manual for the language includes a Hello World variant that shows you how to write a program that will parse logs of IP addresses and record them into permanent hashes. The program for parsing millions of records as they flow into permanent data farms sounds oddly close to the data mining the NSA performed after 9/11 to find targets for its warrantless spying on American citizens calls and emails."

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

That's the last thing we need! (1)

scorpiowulf (1181651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170685)

http://www.wulfram.com?mkid=31257 [wulfram.com] - More surveillance? Isn't Big Brother watching us closely enough? I hope at least some European countries legislate against the storing of details like this.

Re:That's the last thing we need! (0, Offtopic)

jaymzter (452402) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170797)

Normally I don't comment on stuff like this, but the incessant trolling by Zonk at the end of summaries is too blatant. As TFA itself states, this language was written for marketing and business reasons. That sounds like a tool. Now if if someone is using a tool in a way you don't like, then just say so, don't try to cast aspersions on the tool itself. It makes Zonk and /. by association appear downright Luddite. The summary might as well end with an appeal for people to think of the poor children exposed to the dangerous PSTN. Which is a series of tubes, filled with trucks.

Re:That's the last thing we need! (5, Interesting)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171169)

While normally I'd quite agree with you, straight from the article (and not Zonk), right at the start:

From the company that brought you the C programming language comes Hancock, a C variant developed by AT&T researchers to mine gigabytes of the company's telephone and internet records for surveillance purposes.


less inflamitory, later it states:

The system was built in the late 1990s to develop marketing leads, and as a security tool to see if new customers called the same numbers as previously cut-off fraudsters -- something the paper refers to as "guilt by association."


It seems to have been created with slightly better intent (fraud detection, as well as, unfortunately, marketing - your phone company is spyware!).

A tool may not necessarily be bad, but it can have more bad uses than good, and may be been intended for rathern malevolent purposes. The rack comes to mind (although this language certainly isn't in that league).

Re:That's the last thing we need! (1)

solafide (845228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171883)

I'm going to be pedantic about the origins of C: C was not an AT&T invention, but was invented by Bell Labs researchers, which was not at the time wholly owned by AT&T. Ownership was evenly split between AT&T and Western Electric. Nowadays, Bell Labs is not even part of AT&T, but is owned by Alcatel-Lucent.

Re:That's the last thing we need! (1)

squidguy (846256) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172415)

Except that Western Electric was once part of Ma Bell / AT&T...

Re:That's the last thing we need! (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171633)

The problem has never been the tool. It's the application of the tool, and the people who wield it.

Consider, for instance, a baseball bat. Under normal useage, it's used to play a game. Sure, accidents do happen, sometimes erious, but these are minority cases. For the most part, it's all in fun.

Now consider that baseball bat in the hands of a crazed psychopath who thinks YOUR head is a baseball. See the difference?

Re:That's the last thing we need! (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172301)

Now if if someone is using a tool in a way you don't like, then just say so, don't try to cast aspersions on the tool itself.

The problem with power is that if it can be abused... It will be.

So it often behooves citizens to keep these tools out of the hands of the government as long as possible.

Not that it will make much difference in the end.

This Guy Is Paranoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21173975)

I'm pretty sure that this nut job [arkenterprises.com] believes that IBM has teamed up with the Government to spy on him.

The Nuimber To Call (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21171225)


is 1-800-ALQ-QAEDA [whitehouse.org] .

I hope this helps the War Crimes Trials in The Hague.

Cheers,
K. Trout, M.D.

Re:That's the last thing we need! (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21173697)

Too many European countries are also planning for large amount of data collection.

Anyway - just because it's possible to collect and mine data doesn't mean that the same tools can be used by the "bad" guys too to understand how the technology can be circumvented or made to be misleading.

But a new tool may find new surprising uses too, so there are nothing that can be considered completely bad by this tool.

Hancock.. worst name ever. (5, Funny)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170687)

What, was Palmdong taken?

Re:Hancock.. worst name ever. (5, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170725)

No, they thought Orwell would be too obvious.

Re:Hancock.. worst name ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21173465)

Orwell is already taken [heuse.com] . First functional language I learned.

Re:Hancock.. worst name ever. (5, Funny)

djasbestos (1035410) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170905)

Eh, it looks close enough to C that it can, in the vein of C++ and C#, be referred to as C====>

Re:Hancock.. worst name ever. (2, Funny)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170999)

see++ is what Google web clip called it this morning :P

You're almost right (4, Funny)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21173939)

But bear in mind, this programming language was invented by people who are so insecure that they're willing to shred the Fourth Amendment to try and assuage their fear of terrorists. I think C=> might be more accurate.

Re:Hancock.. worst name ever. (2, Funny)

DavidHumus (725117) | more than 6 years ago | (#21174093)

How about "ICU"?

John Hancock (3, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171291)

Jokes aside, is this related to John Hancock?

John Hancock was an American Revolutionary, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He signed it as largely and boldly as possible, much larger than any of the other signatures on that document, so that the King of England would have NO trouble identifying him in the face of his (and his compatriots) clear act of treason. His name is now synonymous with autograph or signature, as in, "Can I have your John Hancock here, please?"

If the AT&T technical staff called their data mining "language" Hancock, it may have been a poetic choice: AT&T is signaling their actions, and/or the actions of the government agents, are akin to treasonous. Yes, the charge of 'treason' is nearly moot in modern US law, but the fact remains that any sensible reading of the Constitution would not indicate any authority for what the government is doing with our communications.

Re:John Hancock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21171595)

I prefer to think they named it after Tony Hancock.

I realize that most of the world will hear a whooshing sound as that goes overs there heads

Re:John Hancock (3, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171761)

Actually, I would think that by calling it Hancock, they are referring to the fact that people monitored are supplying their own Hancock simply through their actions.

In other words, there would be no doubt as to who was behind the words coming from the machines. An involuntary Hancock as it were.

Re:John Hancock (1)

stuporglue (1167677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171969)

so that the King of England would have NO trouble identifying him
Maybe they're naming it Hancock because the current rulers won't have trouble identifying people either.

Re:John Hancock (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21173367)

That's an interesting theory, but the urban legend is wrong: Hancock signed his name on the Declaration of Independence in a large script because he was the first one to sign it [snopes.com] , and he had the whole of the rest of the page to himself. It was first printed in that form - with only two names, and one signature, on it (John Hancock, as the president of the Continental Congress, signed it on behalf of the entire Congress). The others didn't sign it until later that year, at which point they had to make sure there was room enough for everyone.

IANAHistorian, so please correct me if I got something wrong!

Re:Hancock.. worst name ever. (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171511)

HANCOCK

Has
Anyone
Noticed
COvert
Curveillance
Kode

Okay, it relies on typo's, but it works, sort of.

Ironic Name (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21170705)

One would think that John Hancock would not be pleased to learn that his name is being applied to a project that violates the Constitution he so famously signed.

!constitution (5, Informative)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170865)

Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence.

Oblig. Animal House reference (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21173927)

Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

Re:Ironic Name (5, Funny)

jhsiao (525216) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170901)

Even more ironic that someone so focused on the rights in the Constitution would mistake it for the Declaration of Independence.

Re:Ironic Name (2, Funny)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171577)

Even more ironic that someone so focused on the rights in the Constitution would mistake it for the Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all documents are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creators with certain identical Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

Re:Ironic Name (1)

apparently (756613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172361)

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all documents are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creators with certain identical Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

Funnily enough, Jefferson didn't actually "write" the preamble, so much as dictate it, and in his original vision our self-evident truths were: Life, Liberty and the pursuit of a penis. TJ didn't catch the goof in time, and the rest is our nonpenis-pursuing history.

Re:Ironic Name (1)

Ilan Volow (539597) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171667)

Even more ironic, a programming language designed to spare lines of code named after the guy whose signature takes up the most space on the declaration of independence.

Re:Ironic Name (0, Offtopic)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170961)

In Europe, Hancock is the name of a famous British Comedian, Hancock's Half Hour [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Ironic Name (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171135)

That was my first thought along with 'that won't last long, half an hour at best'

Re:Ironic Name (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21174435)

What specifically makes this technology anti-constitutional rights?

At a glance, it looks like a fairly cool graphing toolkit. Sure the sample apps are for marketing and "tracking terrorists." Seems like there are probalby tons of uses. Just like the bittorrent people always say... just because it's primarily used for breaking the law doesn't mean it doesn't have legit uses.

INFO FOR COLORADOANS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21170715)

LISTEN UP, PEOPLE

THIS IS THE NATURE BOY COMING TO YOU LIVE FROM THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, A LITTLE PLACE WE LIKE TO CALL BOSTON MASS

What the hell did we just witness here, Rockies? You call that a series, it's a shellacking. Yeah, you told us all about your streak: 21 of 22. Well you're on a new streak now Rockies, 0 FOR 4. How's that treating ya. I've taken dumps that had a better shot at winning a World Series game. Colorado must be pretty clean right now because the Red Sox just swept the place for you. And don't even get me started about the tickets. Have you lovable losers ever heard of Ticketmaster? Oh, no, "we'll sell them ourselves" you said. Right before your server melted down. Nice job. Denial of service? Yes, it's called people trying to buy tickets, and you deny them service. And what the hell was up with the dorky costumes, Rockie fans? Stormtroopers? George Lucas called, he said "get a life retards." And he also wants a handjob. Your best pitcher gets slapped for 7 runs in the first inning, how'd you like them apples. They're going to rename Coors Field to Fenway West, because we own it now. Colorado RedSoxies...That has a nice ring to it doesn't it. This has to be the most embarrassing series of baseball the world has ever witnessed. Slapped around like a bunch of stooges by the undeniably best team in baseball. Big Papi, Manny being Manny, the Papelbon dance, Dice K. I hope you enjoyed it, Rockies, and took lots of pictures, because it's over for you. We won't be holding our breath for "next year." So Rockie fans, when you finally get around to taking the training wheels off and get a real baseball team, give us a call. But until then, please refrain from stinking up the post-season for the rest of the country and just go ahead and root for the best team in baseball, the BOSTON RED SOX. In parting, let me just say YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIKE IT, BUT YOU WILL LEARN TO -- WHAT -- LOVE IT, OR MY NAME ISN'T THE NATURE BOY. wooooo woooooo wooooo wooooo wooooo

web server (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21170735)

Can I replace php with this? PHP is insecure I heard. Hancock must be secure because it is the government.

Re:web server (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170973)

Actually, it's a data mining language - obviously it is intended to replace Perl, not PHP. Sorry maybe next year.

Re:web server (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171899)

Sounds perfect for finding all those mod points I lost....

Data mining! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21170737)

You can suck my hancock

Heard near Massachusetts... (2, Insightful)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170815)

"Hey, what's that whirring sound?"

"It's the founding father [wikipedia.org] this programming language is named after...spinning in his grave..."

Re:Heard near Massachusetts... (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172057)

So can we use him as power source? If we used it to power servers running datamining applications, we would have perpetuum mobile!

Re:Heard near Massachusetts... (1)

Thought1 (1132989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172443)

Yes, but the real question is: Can we use his motion to generate limitless power, that we can use to power AT&T's computers running Hancock?

Unfortunately, we wouldn't be able to get a patent on it. Alas, perpetual motion machines are forbidden. (:

And what do facebook use? (2, Interesting)

ztransform (929641) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170827)

Monitoring communities of interest is no doubt something of interest there..

Re:And what do facebook use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21174489)

That is explained here: http://www.youtube.com/v/OwnTWZ1-UWY [youtube.com]

Doh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21170841)

They should just ask google. (to sell them their data mining program)

Variations (5, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170855)

We are already working on:

  • Hancock++ - Because a single + was not enough
  • H# - .NET version of the language
  • GNU/Hancock - Returns the results as an open source document and publishes it to the freakin' world
  • GoogleHancock - Datamines Chinese citizens and returns the results to party headquarters and the People's 9mm Ammunition Billing System
  • HancockScript - Great for client side mining

Re:Variations (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21170953)

pCock - Python variant

Re:Variations (1)

cybermage (112274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171105)

pCock - Python variant

Also used by NBC to datamine it's viewers.

Re:Variations (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171319)

Don't forget JCock - the J2EE version being promoted by IBM and Sun. IBM has also announced a version of WebSphere optimized for JCock and middleware called CockSphere.

Finally, the Mozilla Foundation has announced a datamining extension for it's popular Web browser called Firecock.

Re:Variations (2, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171503)

Don't forget:

  • hancocK - the KDE version
  • Data Mining Language - the Gnome version
  • Diptheria - Miguel's version of H#
  • HerbieHancock - automated music librarian that tags 99% of your music as "pop crap" and deletes it. Also detects audiophile owners and scrubs their drives (to give them "more danceable sound").

Re:Variations (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171505)

GoogleHancock

Too long, people will have to abbreviate it GooCock or gCock.

Re:Variations (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171661)

GoogleHancock - Datamines Chinese citizens and returns the results to party headquarters and the People's 9mm Ammunition Billing System

Actually, that is YahooHancock and MSHancock. GoogleHancock is the one that absolutely requires a warrent to see the data.

Ummm.... (5, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170893)

This is at least a decade old, was published in 2000 (I like the breathless "unearthed today", like it was some sort of secret -- the original Hancock paper is listed as having 29 cites) and has rather obvious applications for marketing, billing and security. The "oddly close to the data mining the NSA performed after 9/11" seems a bit excessive.

Re:Ummm.... (1)

cybermage (112274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171037)

I'd say "you must be new here"; but, with a uid of 3800, surely you've seen more than your share of blatant exaggeration in story summaries. Why did this one bother you particularly? Seriously. I'm curious.

Hello, Get-A-Life called. (0, Offtopic)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171227)

Seriously. I'm curious.

Seriously, why would you be curious about something as mundane...oh, wait, geek, /., anal retentive...nevermind.

Sorry, just my kettle and pot moment. Ooops.

Re:Ummm.... (1)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21174301)

Now you never know.. with one low UID user just having bought it at auction :)

Re:Ummm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21174335)

Because we have long ago crossed the line from "exaggeration" to pure lying.

US persons != US citizens

get it right

Not This Shit Again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21171205)

Excessive is putting it lightly.

Some people are not happy unless they can find some evidence of someone doing something "wrong". If they can't find it, they make it up.

File this under the tin foil hat label, right next to "9/11 was an inside job" and "The government has Captured Aliens".

Re:Not This Shit Again! (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172649)

The government has captured aliens. It then drops them off 1 mile past the fence, where the Mexicans give them food and water for their return trip.

Oh... you meant the other type of alien conspiracy. Sorry, AC, can't help you there. As entertaining as they are, the claims are extraordinary and require extraordinary proof, not fuzzy pictures of Halloween costumes.

correction for submission (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21172307)

"oddly close to the data mining the NSA performed BEFORE 9/11 [wired.com] "

Re:Ummm.... (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172519)

This is at least a decade old, was published in 2000 (I like the breathless "unearthed today", like it was some sort of secret -- the original Hancock paper is listed as having 29 cites) and has rather obvious applications for marketing, billing and security.

Yup. For anybody curious, here's the (slightly garbled) research abstract for the paper published in 2000:

Hancock: a language for extracting signatures from data streams [ucla.edu]

Massive transaction streams present a number of opportu
nities for data mining techniques Transactions might rep
resent calls on a telephone network commercial credit card
purchases stock market trades or HTTP requests to a web
server While historically such data have been collected for
billing or security purposes they are now being used to dis
cover how customers or their intermediaries called transac
tors use the underlying services
For several years we have computed evolving proles called
signatures of the transactors in large data streams using
handwritten C code The signature for each transactor cap
tures the salient features of his transactions through time
Programs for processing signatures must be highly opti
mized because of the size of the data stream several gi
gabytes per day and the number of signatures to maintain
hundreds of millions C programs to compute signatures
often sacriced readability for performance Consequently
they are dicult to verify and maintain
Hancock is a domainspecic language created to express
computationally ecient signature programs cleanly In this
paper we describe the obstacles to computing signatures
from massive streams and explain how Hancock addresses
these problems For expository purposes we present Han
cock using a running example from the telecommunications
industry however the language itself is general and applies
equally well to other data sources

Hancock source code (2, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#21173775)

Additionally, one can easily download the Hancock source code (for non-commercial use), manuals, and various research papers here:

http://www.research.att.com/~kfisher/hancock/ [att.com]

Conspiracy!

Don't worry! (5, Insightful)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170919)

If you haven't done anything wrong, then you have nowhere to hide!

Whoops - I mean nothing. Nothing to hide.

Re:Don't worry! (1)

skintigh2 (456496) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171785)

Correction: if you have done nothing ***the goverment considers wrong*** you have nothing to hide.

What the govenrment cosiders wrong is subject to change at any time, without warning or restriction, you milage may very, contents may settle during rendition.

PS: As for your sig, how about "Conservatives: nominate Ron Paul, the ONLY Republican candidate who does not want to preemptivly start a thermonuclear world war III. Liberals: for the love of God, make sure none of those nut cases get into power."

Hello world (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170929)

update Users set Status = 'suspicious' where Username in (SELECT Username, ipAddress, MissleAddress from IncomingCalls ic, OutgoinCalls oc where Volume = 'whispering' and Username not in (select Username from RepublicanDonors));

not a new language (4, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 6 years ago | (#21170975)

this is a collection of libraries and some domain specific keywords/structures, but to say that this is a new language is a stretch of imagination.

Re:not a new language (1)

snarkh (118018) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171157)


A dialect?

Re:not a new language (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172249)

Maybe they are just patent trolling.

I wonder if this will get some people into trouble when they try to get cute and build logs on government operations.

Damn. I cannot find the site, but there is one that essentially is titled "IP Addresses to NEVER Ping..." if you want to avoid trouble with the law. It contained thousands of addresses, hundreds of class group names, and these are held by universities, BBN, ATT, NSA, CIA, DEA, DIS, NIS, and all sorts of other alphabet soup letters.

perl (1)

_14k4 (5085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171019)

Well, at least they didn't realize they could do it in perl and then give perl the bad name...

Tin Foil Beanie time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21171099)

From a slashdot potato head: Hancock is a C variant developed to mine gigabytes of the company's telephone and internet records for surveillance purposes.

From AT&T Labs: At AT&T Labs we have a suite of Hancock programs that run daily to calculate sig-
natures or proles of AT&T's long-distance customers. These signatures are used for
fraud detection and marketing.


http://www.research.att.com/~kfisher/hancock/manual.ps [att.com]

The program for parsing millions of records as they flow into permanent data farms sounds oddly close to the data mining the NSA performed after 9/11 to find targets for its warrantless spying on American citizens calls and emails

The NSA is tapping inbound communications from countries on the watch list. They are spying on foreign nationals calling into the US. Unlike Hillary Clinton: http://sweetness-light.com/archive/hillary-files-eavesdropping-on-the-bimbos [sweetness-light.com]

They only named it after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21171101)

they got caught with their pants down over this surveillance program.

*AFTER* 9-11? (2, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171175)

I think we've been seeing a trickling of stories and evidence showing that Bush/Cheney/Addington were ALREADY doing many 'questionable' things prior to 9-11. At the speed of government, doesn't it make you ask how they were able to cobble together the DHS?! And if I recall, some of the surveillance activities declined by Qwest were requested prior to 9-11.

Bottom line? 9-11 is irrelevant to their intent... 9-11 helped provide some justification in the eyes of some, but the evidence shows that this stuff has been planned WELL in advance of 9-11 and this is not a reaction or over-reaction.

Re:*AFTER* 9-11? (1)

BlowHole666 (1152399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171651)

Hmm could you please provide some proof to these claims? I would LOVE to see some proof about how this administration was doing questionable things prior to 9-11. By questionable I will assume you mean spying or wire tapping etc.

At the speed of government, doesn't it make you ask how they were able to cobble together the DHS?!

Also I think after an act of war such as 9-11 the government can act quite fast.

Re:*AFTER* 9-11? (1)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172001)

Here's some interesting evidence [slashdot.org] . Note that Nacchio's testimony refers to events before 9/11/2001. Specifically, on 2/27/01, he met with NSA to discuss several projects, including at least one that Nacchio considered to be illegal and thus refused.

Prior Art (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171203)

The language already exists: it's Soviet East German.

Hello World in Surveillance Language (2, Insightful)

Lemming Mark (849014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171245)

The manual for the language includes a Hello World variant

Never has that program name been so fitting.

Re:Hello World in Surveillance Language (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171815)

The manual for the language includes a Hello World variant

Never has that program name been so fitting.

Kinda gives a whole new dimension to "Reach out and touch someone", doesn't it?

Proof? We don't need no stinking proof! (1, Troll)

TheDawgLives (546565) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171525)

The program for parsing millions of records as they flow into permanent data farms sounds oddly close to the data mining the NSA performed after 9/11 to find targets for its warrantless spying on American citizens calls and emails.
Ok, this is going WAY too far! Could you have at lease included some LINKS to actual PROOF that ANY government agency conducted warrantless spying on US citizens? I mean other than the FUD that the NYT and Democrats spread which also is not based on any actual proof. IIRC the warrentless wiretaps were on NON-US citizens that were OUTSIDE of US jurisdiction. The whole "it's common knowledge that" defense is wearing quite thin. If you're going to make outrageous claims, you need to back them up with actual proof. No wonder he posted as AC.

Re:Proof? We don't need no stinking proof! (1)

iter8 (742854) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171849)

Hmmm...I don't think your recall is 100%. Read this description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSA_warrantless_surveillance_controversy [wikipedia.org] . The Bush administration claimed that they were intercepting calls originating outside the US even if that call terminated in the US. It's not unreasonable to assume that some of those calls might have been to US citizens. In any case, without oversight and since the complete details of executive order authorizing this are not known, who can tell what they were up to.

Re:Proof? We don't need no stinking proof! (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171875)

Ok, this is going WAY too far! Could you have at lease included some LINKS to actual PROOF that ANY government agency conducted warrantless spying on US citizens?

If they didn't do it, then why are they asking for immunity with the current legislation?

Re:Proof? We don't need no stinking proof! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21171961)

Because there were two programs. The international call tapping program at least has historical defense [sfgate.com] , if not constitutional defense (remember, the person on this end of the line is in the US, unless you can explain how telephones magically teleport people out of the country), but the other [newscientist.com] program is what this article is referring to: the "dragnet" operation whereby all communications are logged and screened by computer for establishing connections such as whether or not you called the same pizza parlor as a known terrorist. Or that your calling pattern "looks like" a terrorist cell calling pattern, whatever that may be.

Re:Proof? We don't need no stinking proof! (1)

Anonymous Cowhead (95009) | more than 6 years ago | (#21173495)

Ok, this is going WAY too far!
[...]

I mean other than the FUD that the NYT and Democrats spread which also is not based on any actual proof.
[...]

If you're going to make outrageous claims, you need to back them up with actual proof.
If only the administration held itself to that same basic standard...

Nm. We'll just keep our heads in the sand... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21174437)

Oh, good god.

Either you must be new to this whole inter-tubes thing, or you're a right-wing apologist who's been assigned to ./.

How about you go through the huge mass of stories reference here on Slashdot alone [slashdot.org] before whining about what everyone else is up to speed on, that you personally have been ignoring all this time. That link points to a large number of articles that touch on the subject (and several more showing that sadly, the US isn't the only government attempting to bloom into full-blown fascism using any possible excuse).

Or, if you just want a very simple primer to get you started, how about these three, related to the original exposure of the ILLEGAL NSA wiretap program, additional evidence supporting the allegations, and the federal circuit ruling clearly declaring it to be ILLEGAL:
The AT&T Whistleblower's Evidence [slashdot.org]
Wired Releases Full Text of AT&T NSA Document [slashdot.org]
Judge Rules NSA Wiretapping Unconstitutional [slashdot.org]

This isn't FUD. This is the real deal smoking gun. The only conspiracy here is the one this administration is engaged in to circumvent any and all legal protections intended to, for very good reason, explicitly limit the power of the executive to do exactly what they're doing.

Re:Nm. We'll just keep our heads in the sand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21174889)

Stevie,

Your huge mass of stories has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Your three links to supposedly illegal NSA wiretapping are just more of your usual paranoid conspiracy theory crap without any substantiation or proof.

The only conspiracy here is the one this administration is engaged in
To run you out of your job, out of your career, to steal everything you own, and to make you homeless. Yeah yeah. We've heard it all before. Maybe if you'd stop smoking marijuana for a moment and get a job serving fries you'd be happier with your life and less prone to post your crap on Slashdot.

Posting AC doesn't work for you, Stevie. How many times must we tell you? Log in.

I sense a new meme! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21171597)

I've been Hancocked!

Oh lord... (1)

Unlikely_Hero (900172) | more than 6 years ago | (#21171643)

I try to stay upbeat about all this, I try to think of ways to fight back against this kind of crap, I do everything I can to not have to deal with this kind of obscenely orwellian garbage...but...sometimes it just hits ya right in the gut...and you feel dreadfully sick...

Hancock (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172099)

with a Manual Guide... I wonder when this application will "cock up" (in English parlance) and screw over people not part of the serve.. sir vail-ance ... umm surveillance.

I thought many of these ISP and ISP parent companies had stated officially that they had issues with excessive data retention (storage space, processing of the enormous data sets, legal issues, etc...). Now, this, from one company that is probably going to make some enemies.

What good (other than government surveillance and corporate marketing) can come from this without harming privacy?

Did anyone read up on the language? (4, Informative)

Weslee (1118943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172205)

Its basically just C with some generic structures thrown on top of it.

Also, it was created in 2000.
Its intent, as some have mentioned, was marketing.
Basically it does what Google Analytics or WebTrends does for the web.

It actually seems like a nice language, for those who want to quickly run through gigs of data.

I see nothing evil about the language itself.
It, like C, perl, PHP, or any other language you chose to use - Can be used for whatever purpose the programmer chooses.
Its intent was marketing, and almost every company in existence wants to know more about their customers.

Re:Did anyone read up on the language? (1)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21174173)

Its basically just C with some generic structures thrown on top of it.

Also, it was created in 2000. Its intent, as some have mentioned, was marketing. Basically it does what Google Analytics or WebTrends does for the web.

It actually seems like a nice language, for those who want to quickly run through gigs of data.

I see nothing evil about the language itself. It, like C, perl, PHP, or any other language you chose to use - Can be used for whatever purpose the programmer chooses. Its intent was marketing, and almost every company in existence wants to know more about their customers.
Ok, let me enlighten you: there is a blue pill, and there is a red pill... oh, you've already taken one... nevermind

Hancock Written Before 2001 (3, Insightful)

squidguy (846256) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172569)

Gee, can you conspiracy theorists take a break for a second and consider that, just perhaps, this was written for commercial telecom management, marketing and fraud detection purposes? It was written and in the public domain before 9-11.
The US Government uses Linux, so are we to presume that Linus Torvalds is an agent of George Bush and the broad conspiracy to spy on you?

Re:Hancock Written Before 2001 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21173003)

"Gee, can you conspiracy theorists take a break for a second..."

You must be new here.

Re:Hancock Written Before 2001 (1)

ioshhdflwuegfh (1067182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21174215)

Gee, can you conspiracy theorists take a break for a second and consider that, just perhaps, this was written for commercial telecom management, marketing and fraud detection purposes? It was written and in the public domain before 9-11.
What conspiracy? Since it was written before 2001, that means... what does it mean?

Hash indeed... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172677)

'The manual for the language includes a Hello World variant that shows you how to write a program that will parse logs of IP addresses and record them into permanent hashes

Sure, I can just imagine what the hash function is, based on AT&T's recent history:

long long hashForNsaEyesOnly(long long phoneNum) {
int wink = -1;
int nod = -1;
return (2 * phoneNum * wink * nod) / 2;
}

AT&T may not have invented it entirely.... (2, Interesting)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21172729)

If you look here [findlaw.com] and research the case a bit, you'll find that a Maryland company may have actually been more responsible for ATT's abilities than ATT would like to admit. That company is now defunct, unfortunately, and so it's now safe for ATT to pretend that they've done work in the area without answering to more law suits.

It was a very technically challenging job. We helped to index records for these guys [lexisnexis.com] until mid-2005. We did it in effectively O(n) time - the cool factor was higher than the say-nothing factor.

And yes - I know that academia will claim that it's not possible, that data correlation must be O(n^2). For the decade that we did it, we were sure glad that academia held to that position.

Enough reminiscing.

A "new" concept? (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21173301)

Wat, someone reinvented regexp?

Great Name!! (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 6 years ago | (#21173637)

Because I know the Han(d)s are on my shoulders and I then know where the rest of the name is going!!

Ellen Hancock? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21173765)

Any of you young-uns here remember the clipper chip? President Clinton's ingenious plan to bug every phone in America:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipper_chip [wikipedia.org]

Wasn't Hancock the name of the academic stooge that was pushed front and center by the feds to shill for this thing, claiming that we could trust Bill & Algore with the key escrow? I seem to remember a fawining article in the ACM Communications pimping for the clipper chip.

I wanna say Ellen Hancock, former IBM and Apple exec, but her bio makes no mention of time spent in academia or shilling for bad wiretapping schemes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Hancock [wikipedia.org]

Even if it's not her, I wonder if the programming language namesake and the government spying toady are one in the same.

AFTER 9/11?!?!? (1)

dkarma (985926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21174009)

You mean months before [bloomberg.com] [bloomberg.com] 9/11 right?

Hancock's Half Hour (1)

Gizah (887392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21174409)

Hancock's Half Hour
The time taken to scan any arbitrary volume of call detail records, being half that of prior technologies.

Oh I love it. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21174613)

The system was built in the late 1990s to develop marketing leads, and as a security tool to see if new customers called the same numbers as previously cut-off fraudsters -- something the paper refers to as "guilt by association."
When I was hacking and phreaking back in 1980 to 1987 me and some friends were writing War Dialers for PC's, Apple II and C64's. We had something like 2000 people running our software round the clock, all working on finding long distance codes.

I started to notice patterns on how people would get busted.
Kid A finds a valid code.
Kid A calls his buddy Kid B using the code, and gives him the code.
Kid B then calls Kid A back using the code.
From there the dispersion of this code goes out exponentially for 2 weeks till the code gets deactivated.

I start to see a pattern were this kids would then get Busted, or at least a nasty phone call, maybe even some letters.

Later I would start to see my software pass over valid codes as not valid.

The phone networks started to sense we were trying numbers sequentially and deactivate them just before we would try it.
This had to be done in realtime.
Next was pseudo random numbers we were using, but this eventually failed in the same way.
Then I used just the random() function in the basic language our code ran in.
That also eventually started to fail!

Noticing this intelligence in the system I came up with what I called the reverse pyramid around 1983.

I Eventually came up with a scheme for pseudo random generators that wouldn't fail. This was done using a central server(over phone lines) and was the only way to solve this since it had become obvious that telco security people were also getting copies of our war dialers. ( The purpose for pseudo random instead of pure random was that we wanted to get full coverage of a specific number space each kid was scanning. )

  Basically the dialers would not tell the kid running the software they had come across a code.
  Instead it would contact a very small server hidden in the phone network and upload the code it had found.
  Then at a regular interval, all thousands of users would get the same code all at once.
  Most kids probably thought that it was there computer that had found the code, but really it was out of a large pool of codes we had acquired. This solved the "guilt by association." problem.

  So after the code was disbursed widely starting with what would usually be the last people to get a code, it would throw off such fancy analysis tools.
  Then after a week or so the "inner circle" of our core group would start using the code, when they were well in the noise of millions of people stealing long distance using the same code.

Anyhow, the point of all of this is to finally see some confirmation that they had developed such software that they were using against us, and that out countermeasures had worked.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?