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Investors Press AT&T, Verizon to Detail Spying Cooperation
by Karl Bode 09:52AM Thursday Nov 21 2013
Both AT&T and Verizon have been dead silent during the entire Snowden affair, but investor pressure may force the companies to shed a little more detail on their cooperation with the NSA. According to the New York Times, shareholders are now pressuring both companies to follow the lead of companies like Google and Yahoo and begin issuing surveillance transparency reports, disclosing the volume and type of consumer data being shared with the government.

Leading the charge is the $160.7 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, which argues that AT&T and Verizon's silence harms consumer trust, and therefore investor value:
quote:
“AT&T’s failure to disclose what customer information it shares with U.S. and foreign governments presents significant risk to shareholder value,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, trustee of the fund. “Transparency allows investors to make informed decisions about corporate behavior. Publishing regular reports on requests for information from governments would be an appropriate response to shareholder and customer concerns about trust and privacy in the digital world.
You'd be hard pressed to find companies that have been more cooperative with domestic surveillance than AT&T and Verizon; that cooperation often going well above and beyond what was asked of them into the realm of advising government on how best to break the law and allowing government access to every shred of data on their network (pdf). Their silence has spoken loudly during the entire Snowden affair.

Granted you could probably argue that the money AT&T and Verizon make off of either direct payments by organizations like the CIA or the multi-billion dollar government contracts won in part by surveillance cooperation -- are far more valuable to investors than the concerns of consumers, so this transparency effort may not see meaningful traction.

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newview
Ex .. Ex .. Exactly
Premium
join:2001-10-01
Parsonsburg, MD
kudos:1

Their silence is tellingly loud

They won't comment ... they don't have to ... they have the NSA in their corner.

winsyrstrife
River City Bounce
Premium
join:2002-04-30
Brooklyn, NY

Jab, body blow, uppercut

quote:
You'd be hard pressed to find companies been more cooperative with domestic surveillance than AT&T and Verizon; that cooperation often going well above and beyond what was asked of them into the realm of advising government on how best to break the law and allowing government access to every shred of data on their network (pdf).
Man oh man Karl, I could see the gleeful smile on your face, as you took a sip of coffee and continued typing this paragraph. Having fun eh?
--
"Suddenly everything is fainting, falling from a broken ladder's rung. There's a jolt exhilarating from the phone I'm holding...
I hear the words of what I'll become, how eager the hands that reach for love."
- Blind Melon - New Life
clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN

Re: Jab, body blow, uppercut

Are you refuting any of those statements?

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

1 recommendation

I don't drink coffee anymore.

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
They will get the most attention because they are the largest telcos. Do you honestly think that RinkyDink Communications in rural Indiana will get any negative press whatsoever? I imagine a single person from the NSA going to an independant telco and walking out with a single box of paper files. lol

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

Re: Jab, body blow, uppercut

Well AT&T got press because a 20-year whistleblower testified precisely what they were doing with fiber splits. But yeah, I believe Sprint and many other carriers are equally involved in these efforts but often gets left out of the conversation. Still, AT&T and Verizon handle the most traffic, and operate numerous wired and wireless networks, so it makes sense they get the most attention.
clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN

Re: Jab, body blow, uppercut

Of course they all do it. RinkyDink Communications, however, has absolutely no leverage to stand up for anything lest they be "randomly audited" by the SEC and shut down if they don't play ball. Verizon and AT&T get the heat because are they only organizations large, rich, and strong enough to actually stand a snowball's chance in hell of fighting the abuses...not only because they handle most of the traffic.

Of course being that they are, after all, Ma Bell Reincarnate, they'll just take the lucrative contracts and hush money and keep their mouths shut. (Although I'd like to believe the higher-ups at the old Ma Bell would at least have tried to stand up for something...)

I've always wondered, though, if the reason T-Mobile doesn't have a better spectrum position in the USA has anything to do with them possibly not playing ball with the spy grid.
amungus
Premium
join:2004-11-26
America
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
·KCH Cable

Re: Jab, body blow, uppercut

T-Mobile's spectrum has to get to a wire at some point. At that point, it gets into Ma Bell's network. None of them are exempt from trunking to a CO that has some connection to the Borg Collective...

Even if you're talking to someone else on the same tower, the records get sent back across a hardline, eventually connecting with a network that is connected to another network, that is connected to another network, that is connected to...........
nasadude

join:2001-10-05
Rockville, MD
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

investors have reason to worry

GigaOm headline: Cisco’s gloomy revenue forecast shows NSA effect starting to hit home
by David Meyer NOV. 14, 2013

"In the last quarter, on which Cisco was reporting on Wednesday, the company saw a sudden 21 percent revenue drop in its top 5 emerging markets: 25 percent down in Brazil, 18 percent down in India, Mexico and China, and 30 percent down in Russia."

"If Cisco really is an industry bellwether, big problems lie ahead. Analysts had expected growth of 6 percent, not revenue decimation, and Cisco’s gloomy prognostication swiftly saw a 10 percent drop on the company’s share price in after-market trading."

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

1 edit

Re: investors have reason to worry

Yeah AT&T's hoped-for expansion into Europe could be hurt, but I still think people in general have ultra-short attention spans about this kind of stuff and as such I highly doubt we'll see any serious impact on AT&T's U.S. financials. Meanwhile Cisco's failures in international markets only seems like fair play, since they're the one behind a lot of the Chinese spy whisper allegations against Huawei.
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC

Re: investors have reason to worry

I do feel some sympathy for people trying to run a secure network that aren't in America or China. What networking gear can they trust?
clone

join:2000-12-11
Portage, IN

Re: investors have reason to worry

I feel sympathy for anyone trying to run a secure network, anywhere, of any size. No such thing has ever or will ever exist.

meeeeeeeeee

join:2003-07-13
Newburgh, NY
Maybe people in other countries are starting to wonder what Cisco packs into THEIR boxes for the NSA. I certainly do.

amarryat
Verizon FiOS

join:2005-05-02
Marshfield, MA

Ironic isn't it?

Huawei was flagged by Congress due to national security concerns. They must have been worried about spying. Karma.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Irony

The "investors" are the government pension funds, who represent the elements that back the most injurious intrusions into our daily lives and countless unlawful takings from the citizenry.

AT&T and Verizon have no reason to disclose what information they provide the government, nor need they resist.

It is up to we, the people, to protest the government and change it.