Friday, April 14, 2006

NSA's big net

Ars has a nice short update on the NSA wiretap story, based on information revealed by a retired AT&T engineer. Check it out: AT&T engineer: NSA built secret rooms in our facilities

Given the massive scale of the spy operation in the US (and this is only one company; it's not yet clear if the NSA has partnered with other telecom firms), it's growing increasingly difficult to believe that this is truly 'targeted surveillance.' The equipment used and the vast scale of the information being monitored both suggest that the NSA is sifting through massive amounts of user data and phone calls. Much of the information that passes through their spy system must therefore be domestic rather than international in nature. It is possible that phone calls, for instance, that begin and end in the US are simply passed through the system without being scanned, but if so, this must certainly tempt the NSA, which has only to tweak their settings to see all that new data. What is actually being monitored is still unclear, but it looks as though this trial could bring much of it to light.

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