Saturday, May 13, 2006

Reach Out and Tap Someone

The Courant has looked into what phone companies operating in Connecticut are collecting data in cooperation with the NSA. It's interesting to note that the only company issuing a flat out denial is T-mobile.

T-Mobile, one of several cellphone providers serving Connecticut, said Friday that it was not a participant "in any NSA program for warrantless surveillance and acquisition of call records."


AT&T, Verizon, Sprint Nextel, and Cingular all declined to comment.



Source
Gosslein, Kennteth R. "Who's Listening In On Your Calls?." Hartford Courant 5/13/06

30 comments:

bluecoat said...

That's the absolute worst article from both an analytical and factual perspecive that I have read on the two subjects anywhere.

BRubenstein said...

These companies have violated our civil liberites and 4th amendment right to privacy...Senator Arlen Spector is holding a hearing in the Judiciary Committee soon and the heads of those companies will have to testify.This..as well the rest of the governments programs for spying is just terrible.

Regardless of the recent poll that 2/3 of americans dont mind this type of intrusion, there will be new laws made and suits over this loss of privacy.

bluecoat said...

I probably agree there BR but we really still don't know what the govt. is up tto. Lindsey Graham hasn't been real happy about this either. On this recent one where QWest declined to cooperate I gleaned that the govt. declined to go to the FISAourt because they thought they might not get an OK.

bluecoat said...

And as for a loss of privacy suit, it's my understanding there has yet to be an aggreived party because this is so secretive BUT I am not the lawyer in the group.

cgg said...

Sorry Bluecoat. I posted about it because it mentioned companies doing business in CT. My guess is that it was rushed to make today's edition.

It also doesn't mention Internet phone services at all which surprises me.

disgruntled_republican said...

I am not a terrorist. I do not talk to terrorists. I do ot break the law (other than speeding and they have to catch you in the act for that) so if they want to listen to me, that's fine.

bluecoat said...

My comment was about the Courant's coverage and I actually appreciated your post about CT. The latest from the AP is here and when I said there was yet to be an agreived party I was talking about the "tapping" or eavesdropping not the passing on of the records.

bluecoat said...

DG: during Clinton's term they listened in and used the info for political purposes; same thing with Tricky Dick; my guess is nobody from the govt. is listening to your words except on this blog and other public forums.

disgruntled_republican said...

My point exactly.

I am just saying, people cry about them listening in...if you aren't doing anything illegal you will have NOTHING to worry about.

MikeCT said...

disgruntled,
How bout we plant a webcam in your house? You've got nothing to hide.

disgruntled_republican said...

Again, I have nothing to hide.

bluecoat said...

Huh, my point is that there is a history of abuse and that is why the FISA laws/courts were started after Tricky Dick. The laws undoubtedly need updating like the PATRIOT Act, which is 95% agreeable to most sides BTW, could have done on this issue.

cgg said...

DG: Are you arguing that the program is legal?

I don't care if anyone is listening in on my calls, government or otherwise. I do care if they're collecting data illegally. And no I don't trust the Bush Administration's lawyers on this.

disgruntled_republican said...

I am not arguing the legality of it, I am simply saying I have no problem with it. For those who critize the Bush White House for doing it...I sure hope you did the same when the Clinton White House did it...and I imagine some of you did, but not all...

BRubenstein said...

DG..i did the same complaining when Clinton did it...

This whole scenario is now being played out but it sure looks like the companies that participated became " agents of the government"..and they should have provided at least notice to us ( customers) that they were doing this....Spector's hearings will flush out this invasive program for us, but i see lots of lawsuits and legislation ahead,

On another topic..did you all see the " trolling for delegates article in the Courant"? DeStefano in November could have put Malloy away...for disclosure purposes i am a backer of his...though i have to say that DM is close to winning the majority of the delegates now...what do you folks think was DeStefano's major error in not gathering the majority of delegates sooner?

bluecoat said...

I am not a Donkey but I find that JDS can be a little scattered with his message compared to DM.

ctblogger said...

disgruntled_republican said

I think your missing the point. The program isn't the real problem here, it's that the program is for the most part illegal. In fact, it's so illegal that the Bush administration bypassed going to FISA becasue they knew they would lose.

Remember, they went to Ashcroft (while in a hospital) and tried to get him to sign off on this monitoring program and even he said no. The fact is that administration thinks it's above the law. They have no regard for the check and balances we have in place through the constitution and that scares the hell out of me.

According to the whistleblower, this is the tip of the iceberg in regards to what the Bush administration is doing and between the secret monitoring of our phone calls and this new discovery, it seems like we're losing our liberties and once they're gone, it's almost impossible to get back.

An adniminstration that disregards the law is VERY dangerous and that should be kept in mind not whether or not you support the idea of the program. If the Bush administration felt so strongly about the importance of the program, they could of went to Congress andd asked for the laws to be changed/modified but the problem is that they didn't do this. Instead, they gave the finger to the laws and did what they wanted to do.

That's dangerous and at this point (with the credibility of this administration in the tank) I think it's fair to be asking this administration some very serious questions.

ctblogger said...

Followup: I forgot to point to the NSA telling the DOJ that they don't have security clearence to investigate them regarding the secret monitoring program as another example of the Bush adminitration giving the finger to the law. Now the NSA guru behind the secret monitoring program wants to become the head of the CIA....be concerned and demand that Congrewss show some spine and start asking some serious questions.

Chris MC said...

ctblogger has it right - this isn't about listening to you and me having our secret love chats, it is about the rule of law and the separation of powers, and specifically the power of oversight vested in the Congress. Bear in mind, we aren't discussing this because the Administration put it before the appropriate parties, we're having it because they did an end run on the appropriate parties.

turfgrrl said...

From a technical perspective, if your phone service offers 3-way calling, then the calls can be secretly monitored. Currently, in VOIP Skype cannot be monitored. Sources for this tid bit of info are the many techie posters on slashdot.

Apart from the illegality of obtaining private data from a private company without a warrant, this type of data mining is being done by non governmental entities as well. Any phone number's records are right now for sale, openly,. Which means that your employer, business competitor, family, rival etc. can get your incoming and outgoing calls whenever they want.

It is trivial for a government agency, like the IRS, to notice that you keep calling that Bentley dealership when you claim an Honda civic on your tax return. The fact that your brother-in-law works there, and you play golf with him, is not something data mining would reveal.

This is as bad as Soviet Union-era communism, where the "state" controlled every aspect of its citizenry. If we stand by and let our 4th amendment rights be stripped away, then we might as well embrace our news Stasi state.

Top-n-Center said...

Those of you that think Mr. Bush and his administration dreamt up this program for the NSA are kidding yourself. These types of programs are what the NSA is all about... The phone data collection program was pretty well known-abut back in 2000 & 2001...

Chris MC said...

T-n-C -
The issue isn't the activity. The issue is the circumvention of the proceedures and authority of the court and the Congress. That is a violation of the law.

It has nothing to do with taking the necessary steps in a timely fashion. Everybody is for that, and always has been, as you point out.

MikeCT said...

Lamont at the movies.

Ned Lamont, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman for the Democratic nomination for senator, will launch a 10-minute campaign film at 7 p.m. today.

It will be shown at La Paloma Sabanera at 405 Capitol Avenue in Hartford, and simultaneously webcast on blogs, including Atrios, ConnecticutBlog, and MyDD. Lamont, 52, is founder and president of Lamont Digital Systems. To view the film, or request a copy, visit www.nedlamont.com


Open thread anyone?

disgruntled_republican said...

And nobody said or did anything when Clinton did it for much lesser reasons during his presidency.

GMR said...

My understanding is that the NSA was not receiving recordings of calls, but was instead just receiving a list of all the other numbers that were called from a particular number.

This has to be an incredible amount of data, and I can't really fathom what they'd do with all except to see who known terrorists were calling, and to see if several known terrorists were calling a similar number.

bluecoat said...

they do "social network analysis" to try to detect unknown terrorists; sort of the same stuff a credit card company will do with your buying patterns if you let them.

Chris MC said...

DR -
Clinton didn't do anything without the approval of the court, and he didn't say that Congress has no right to oversight.

Brass Anon said...

Hey Chris MC

You're sounding like a lawyer.

Don Pesci said...

Data mining not what recent headlines and dark insinuations buried in stories about domestic spying seem to suggest. The data miner is not listening in on a phone conversation between your grandmother and the local grocery clerk. He’s not even listening in to a conversation between two terrorists operatives located in the Middle East who are using disposable American phones because they want their conversation to be protected by American law. The data miner is collecting raw data from phone companies. He’s not interested in who is calling whom either. He wants to know what the communication traffic is. He’s seeking to map phone calls. Later, after a terrorist incident, he can consult the map to track changes in data. And then, still later, when the map indicates the same change, the change may indicate that an attack may be imminent. It was through the use of data mining that Mohammed Atta was identified as a terrorist before 9/11. No one moved on the information.

bluecoat said...

The NSA has a contract with ChoicePoint, the company that has your driver's license, reverse look up on your phone number and a few other "choice points" about you AND you have no more idea what the NSA is doing than most US Senators including those on the Judiciary Committee.