For years it has been abundantly clear that the line between AT&T and the US intelligence services is blurry at best. AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein showed us how the telco effectively uses fiber splits to clone and potentially deliver every shred of data that touches the AT&T network to the NSA. Subsequent reports have indicated that the AT&T has volunteered its employees to work as intelligent analysts, even giving the government advice on how best to skirt around privacy and wiretap laws.
Edward Snowden documents again confirmed all of this back in August.
The EFF, which has been at the forefront of fighting the government's often mindless surveillance power expansion in the courts, has posted an amazing breakdown of some of the revelations made in the last decade of court battles.
The latest NSA docs confirm what Klein claimed all along. AT&T's peering traffic is copied by splitters on its way to the common backbone, enabling initial on-site searching and analysis of the traffic, before it's transmitted to a central processing facility for further analysis. AT&T is, by all accounts, a giant NSA-contracted intelligence gathering apparatus.
If you'll recall, Klein's claims that this was happening were largely ignored by the technology media at the time, given most still believed this kind of deep-rooted surveillance was tin-foil hat territory. Meanwhile, the EFF's Jewel v. NSA case was thrown out earlier this year because the government continues to pretend this publicly-revealed data remains a state secret.
"There are limits to the government s ability to play ostrich to stick its head in the ground and pretend like the world does not already know that AT&T is facilitating its Internet surveillance program," notes the EFF, which is appealing the district court's dismissal of the case.
"It s time for the government to come clean about its collaboration with AT&T, and it s time for the public, adversarial courts to decide the constitutionality of the NSA s surveillance program," said the group.