AT&T and NSA - a Marriage made in Hell
AT&T recently sent out an information letter, dated July 22, 2013, to their customer base claiming the benefits of several new privacy protection programs they're offering. The letter claims: "Information is collected whenever you use our products and services... As always, we follow important principles to keep your trust
- We are committed to protecting your privacy
- We provide you with privacy choices
- We will not sell information that identifies you to anyone, for any purpose. Period.
- We are committed to listening and keeping you informed about how we protect your privacy."
The hypocrisy here is simply breathtaking, is it not? What AT&T Senior Vice President Robert W. Quinn has not told his customer base is that NSA built a separate room at several company locations so that AT&T phone and Internet traffic can go directly to the National Security Agency via a parallel link. "For example, they set up a secret spy room at an AT&T office in San Francisco. NSA installed new equipment that enabled them to tap into the fiber-optic cables and suck up all traffic."
A map of the NSA's alleged surveillance technologies (Source: NSAWatch)
Apparently government snooping without a warrant is not considered an invasion of your privacy or a breach of the fourth amendment by AT&T upper management. Be advised that AT&T doesn't consider policies or offerings that violate constitutional rights as detrimental, only that bottom line profits are preserved.
So just how is AT&T protecting your privacy and from whom, your neighbor, some fictional threat or perhaps someone in another country? It's certainly not from government spies because the company feeds all personal Internet browsing and every phone call directly to the NSA.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) is suing AT&T over its snooping partnership, something else that Vice President Quinn didn't think worth mentioning to his customer base. "EFF alleges that under the NSA domestic spying program, major telecommunications companies—and AT&T specifically—gave the NSA access to, or information from, their vast databases of communications records. This included information about their customers' calls and emails in the past, including all of those people who their customers have corresponded with. In addition, EFF alleges that AT&T gave the government unfettered access to its over 300 terabyte "Daytona" database of caller information—one of the largest databases in the world."
According to information obtained by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, as published by the Washington Post below, major Internet Service providers are trusted partners with NSA in providing domestic phone and Internet usage information to the National Security Administration under the ‘Prism’ program. Or is that 'prison' program?
For the complete NSA PRISM surveillance program, see: http://www.newpatriotsblog.com/nsa-tsa/
AT&T's partners in privacy violation include AOL, Google, facebook, Hotmail, paltalk, Microsoft Skype, Yahoo and ‘You-Tube’.
It’s just a matter of time before this information is used to silence American dissidents, punish political opponents and extort money from the citizenry. "And so, these countries use this equipment to filter out dissident communications and people trying to protest the government. It gives them the ability to eavesdrop on communications and monitor dissident email communications. And as a result of that, people are put in jail, and so forth…"
So get ready for AT&T's surveillance program premiering right in your very own home!
You'll be vulnerable to warrantless surveillance by NSA across any AT&T link. Also, expect the things that you purchase through their broadband network to essentially be public information, if Snowden's revelations mean anything. Be advised that your privacy will be administered by the Machiavellian principle of, 'Never tell anyone the real reason you did something unless it is useful to do so....tell them what they want to hear.". Here are the two programs AT&T is offering:
Program One: "external Marketing and Analytics Reports
"We will make reports available to businesses to help them serve their customers better. These reports will contain anonymous information such as how they use our products and services .. together with the device user's collective information like ages and gender."
AT&T will be selling this demographic information to businesses. AT&T is a purveyor of pornography, offering hard-core porn over the Hot Network cable channel and AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson has been a vocal supporter of ending the boy scout's ban on homosexuals. In addition to the company’s spying activities for the government, get ready for a bevy of condom, gay sex toy and other offensive advertisements on your U-verse system. What? Well, did you really think your privacy information isn't going to be exploited?
And just how does sharing demographic information with synergistic business partners protect your privacy? But by far the most dangerous offering to personal security is their second offering:
Program Two: ..Advertising including 'Wireless Location Characteristics'
"..things like wireless location information, U-verse information and website browsing or mobile application usage."
AT&T and the government are collecting information that could be used to blackmail anyone in their customer database. As a hypothetical example, Julia is a woman who home schools her children and one day calls a friend about an incident of a neighbor kid getting into her prescription medications while in the home. The child was not harmed but the AT&T phone call is now in the possession of NSA who could inform Children’s Services that might decide to bring child endangerment charges against Julia or use the call to blackmail her into discontinuing home schooling.
"..you must opt-out from each computer browser or wireless device you wish to excliude."
Lies. You opt out of nothing. NSA continues to receive and peruse your browsing data and phone calls from AT&T facilities, no matter what preferences are selected. A better choice is to encrypt your phone conversations and secure your voice calls using the OSTN. Learn how and where here.
The EFF notes in its litigation against AT&T: "The First and Fourth Amendments were at issue because AT&T acted as the government's agent in the government's violation of the Bill of Rights. The government's spying program would not be possible without AT&T's collaboration. AT&T should have been standing up for you and your privacy. In this country, we follow the law, we don't just follow orders."
Data analysis affords government the opportunity to define new criminal acts from common behavior patterns noted in the collected transmissions facilitating the extortion of new revenue sources from the governed.
With AT&T U-verse, they'll know what you're watching, when you're watching, where you're watching and how many of you are watching.