Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

One More Reason NOT to Trust Big Gov and Big Corp

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed a retired AT&T worker, Mark Klein, who claims he actually observed AT&T diverting copies of pretty much all email–not just the foreign stuff to the National Security Agency.

In an interview Tuesday, he said the NSA set up a system that vacuumed up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the cooperation of AT&T. Contrary to the government’s depiction of its surveillance program as aimed at overseas terrorists, Klein said, much of the data sent through AT&T to the NSA was purely domestic. Klein said he believes the NSA was analyzing the records for usage patterns as well as for content.

He said the NSA built a special room to receive data streamed through an AT&T Internet room containing “peering links,” or major connections to other telecom providers. The largest of the links delivered 2.5 gigabits of data - the equivalent of one-quarter of the Encyclopedia Britannica’s text - per second, said Klein, whose documents and eyewitness account form the basis of one of the first lawsuits filed against the telecom giants after the government’s warrantless-surveillance program was reported in the New York Times in December 2005.

How did it work?

The diagram showed splitters, glass prisms that split signals from each network into two identical copies. One copy fed into the secret room. The other proceeded to its destination, he said.

“This splitter was sweeping up everything, vacuum-cleaner-style,” he said. “The NSA is getting everything. These are major pipes that carry not just AT&T’s customers but everybody’s.”

I urge you to contact your representatives i Congress and the Senate (I’ve written to mine) and tell them NOT to allow any amnesty for telecom companies that illegally turned over data to the government.

It as a crime when Google and Yahoo helped send a Chinese activist to jail by giving their records to the Chinese government and it’s a crime that AT&T turned over our e-mails to an agency not authorized to see them.


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