Big Brother Spying on Americans' Internet Data?
AT&T Whistleblower Describes Secret Room That Sends Internet Data to Government
...A federal judge dismissed claims by government lawyers, who are arguing the case instead of AT&T because of national security implications, that the company is immune to lawsuit for the access to data they provided to the government. An appeal of that order is pending and has temporarily halted the lawsuit....
...President Bush has said he will veto any bill that does not include the immunity for telecom companies.
When the New York Times reported in late 2005 on the warrantless domestic wiretapping program run by the NSA, Klein, who had recently retired from AT&T, said he became "frustrated."
Klein linked up with the EFF in 2006 and is cooperating in their lawsuit...
...In May 2006, Bush defended the NSA's warrantless programs by saying the government was not mining for data and only targeting foreign terrorists and al Qaeda operatives.
"First, our international activities strictly target al Qaeda and their known affiliates. Al Qaeda is our enemy, and we want to know their plans.
Second, the government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval," he said.
"Third, the intelligence activities I authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat.
Fourth, the privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities. We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans. Our efforts are focused on links to al Qaeda and their known affiliates. So far we've been very successful in preventing another attack on our soil," he said.
But Brian Reid, a former Stanford electrical engineering professor who appeared with Klein, said the NSA would logically collect phone and Internet data simultaneously because of the way fiber optic cables are intertwined.
He said the way the system described by Klein suggests a "wholesale, dragnet surveillance."
Bankston argued that simply by diverting the data, even if it did not look at specific messages, the government violates Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure without probable cause. ...
...Of the major telecom companies, only Qwest is known to have rejected government requests for access to data.
Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, appealing an insider trading conviction last month, said the government was seeking access to data even before Sept. 11