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AT&T, Verizon Could Be Tasked With Holding NSA Data
by Karl Bode 06:28PM Wednesday Feb 26 2014
A report in the Wall Street Journal indicates that the Obama administration is contemplating several "new" options when it comes to storing bulk surveillance data. The options were presented to the White House as part of the government's somewhat-cosmetic reforms proposed back in January. One of the big pushes being considered is taking data storage away from the NSA -- and putting that job directly into the hands of the phone companies themselves:
One way of doing that would have the phone companies retain the data, officials said. The NSA would then tell the companies when it needs searches of call records concerning specific phone numbers the agency believes are connected to terrorism. The companies would provide the results to the NSA...But telecommunications companies oppose this option. Phone companies likely would demand liability protection and possibly other conditions to avoid outside demands for data—for instance, for run-of-the-mill legal cases such as divorce proceedings.
It seems that phone companies will only approve this option if they're given additional legal protections, and very likely more taxpayer money. It's not entirely clear this change would be much different. We already know telcos host NSA hardware allowing for real-time monitoring, and AT&T has even gone so far as to give government advice on how to best bypass wiretap and privacy law.

One of the bigger reasons for shuffling the deck chairs on the surveillance Titanic, is that during the shake up the Obama Administration is expected to push for expanding the amount of time the data can be stored. As such, they're really just shuffling the deck a little bit then claiming it will result in improved privacy for those being spied upon -- a declaration that will ultimately be unproveable until the next whistle blower comes along.

topics flat nest 


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This sounds like egregious behavior. Corporations are not the government. They shouldn't be storing our information at all, let alone at the behest of the government. Also, this is just a way to give more money and power to these corporations. I find it despicable.
Corporatism ie- Fascism.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Santa Cruz, CA

Re: What?

They already have a cozy relationship, this just puts them in the same sleeping bag er... suite at the ritz.
Let them eat FIBER!

Washington, DC
Corporations already store and sell our information, and share with the government without a warrant, but this request is to extend the duration of data retention and force all telecommunication companies to do it, and be criminals if they don't.

The thinking is that government is barred from the unreasonable search, so all their data collection of innocent people is unconstitutional. But, AT&T collecting and holding it is legal, they're not held back by the bill of rights like uncle Sam should be.

My problem is that storing all this data by compulsion is expensive, raises barriers to entry for new companies, and makes the companies agents of the government. Makes me think "Mussolini". Agents of the government should be restrained by the Constitution as much as the government itself.


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Re: What?

I'm right there with you.
Also, I've heard of a few stories where these companies that are storing our information get it wrong or mixed up and ruin people lives.

There are no consequences for their bad behavior either.

Right on!

This is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of our very dumb government trying to do!

AT&T and Verizon would be 2 of the very last companies I'd want storing anything, let alone some of the info that it could possibly be obtaining here!

I wish those 2 companies were obliterated!!
The Firefox alternative.


Springfield, OR

although.. the telephone companies already save this stuff anyway.

The phone companies have saved this information for 3 years since the dawn of time. Records are kept of the numbers called, and text messages, and other account activity for 3 years.

Law enforcement has been able to obtain a warrant or go to the phone company and get this information at any time.

Here is an article from the ACLU.. AT&T even keeps recordings indefinitely. »www.aclu.org/protecting-civil-li···-request

Here's one that includes info on land-lines.. »www.privacyrights.org/protecting···ing-true

I called the phone company about this in 2008; land-lines are fully logged and data is kept for at least 3 years through Qwest.

Articles on land-lines are more difficult to find if you search, just fyi...

This is why the NSAs PRISM program was never necessary, because the phone companies already retained the records. And you know how judge William Pauley whatever found it to be constitutional back in December? He did so saying that the reason it was necessary for meta-data collection was because some phone calls before 9/11 could not be traced, but all they had to do was get a warrant and go to the phone companies (meaning, the NSA had the ability to do look ups the whole time, an error in what the judge reported).
www.oregonstatehospital.net - CIA and state of Oregon set me up and targeted me with a microwave weapon, learn more.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Santa Cruz, CA

Re: although.. the telephone companies already save this stuff anyway.

Better for them to have secret court so they can keep their illegal activities hidden and be shielded from consequences of spying and torturing.
Let them eat FIBER!


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Interesting that the people paying the bills can never benefit from this tracking. Abusive telemarketers, crazy harassers, and scammers have no worries. Bin Laden would still be alive if he communicated using these methods

Hazelwood, MO
I have no issue with them making them hold on to it and 3 years is plenty of time. If you find a new target and can go back 3 years on them, then great that should be enough info to perform your investigation. If not, then you will need to monitor them to get the need information if you can convince a judge to allow it.

Keep in mind also, once an investigation/court case has started ALL data must be kept regardless of time. So once they identify a target and the court approves it, all that data for 3 years + any additional data is theirs to investigate with.

I do not believe that they should be released of liability though. It is one thing for them to be required to maintain data, it is another if they are not protecting it by allowing it to be accessed by people that do not have a valid court order to do so. That, they should be 100% accountable to their consumers for.