Documents Detail AT&T-NSA Web Surveillance Claim

 
 
By Kevin Fogarty  |  Posted 2006-05-22 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Documents provided by a former AT&T technician appeared on the on the Web Monday with purported technical details of the federal goverment's surveillance of phone and Internet traffic.

Wired magazine has posted the full text of the evidence former AT&T technician Mark Klein has presented to back up an accusation that AT&T helped the federal government spy on phone and Internet traffic. The documents, here in PDF form, include descriptions of the fiber-optic splitters, routers and wiring Klein alleges that AT&T set up in "secret rooms" to monitor traffic across its WorldNet Internet Backbone. Kleins documents describe the setup, testing and maintenance of equipment for the locked wiring closets—which were located within larger networking facilities but were accessible only to specific management-level technicians with the right security clearance.
Central to the surveillance setup in each location, Klein writes, was a packet-inspection unit called a Semantic Traffic Analyzer from Narus, whose flagship products are designed for IP security intercept and traffic classification.
The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), which has filed a class-action suit accusing AT&T of helping the NSA (National Security Agency) break laws against domestic spying and invasion of privacy, cant comment on the increased detail in Kleins latest revelations, said EFF spokesperson Rebecca Jeschke. Jeschkey did, however, reiterate EFFs reasons for filing the suit. "AT&T violated the law and the privacy of its customers, in collaboration with the NSA," Jeschke said. "AT&T was key to allowing the surveillance to go on. When the NSA came knocking, [AT&T] should have said, Come back with a warrant."
Pressure to control information related to the case is intense from both AT&T and the NSA, whose cloak of secrecy extends to the motion the government filed to dismiss the case, here in PDF form. Click here to read more about Verizons denial that it sent records to NSA. "The motion to dismiss our case is also classified," Jeschke says. "The lawyers here are going to be arguing a document they have not even read in its entirety; theyre not even sure how long it is because the redacted parts arent blacked out like other redacted documents. There are just brackets that say Redacted Text inside them." For its part, AT&T has responded to the release of Kleins documents only with carefully filtered non-denials: "Without confirming the authenticity of the documents you reference," said the statement from AT&T spokesperson Marc Bien, "the EFF has documents that are proprietary and confidential. In the wrong hands, these materials could help hackers or others harm our communications network, or commercial competitors obtain unfair advantages. Beyond that, we cant comment on matters of national security." "What were trying to do," the EFFs Jeschke says, "is make sure the public knows whats going on with its information. The behavior of AT&T customers is being reported to the NSA through AT&T, and we believe there should be as much sunshine on this program as possible." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzers Weblog.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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