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Under the Hood of AT&T's Monitoring System 416

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the running-commentary dept.
pkbarbiedoll writes "The recent discovery of AT&T's monitoring program has raised more than a few eyebrows. While the class action suit filed by EFF is pending (as well as a seperate suit filed against the NSA filed by the ACLU), interested parties are taking the time to learn more about the scope of this massive invasion of privacy. Bewert examines the Narus architecture used by AT&T in their previously shadowed (and ongoing) collaboration with the NSA."
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Under the Hood of AT&T's Monitoring System

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  • NSA and AT&T (Score:2, Insightful)

    Is anyone surprised?
    • Not at all. I've known something of this magnitude has been happening. Was just a matter of time before it came through to the general public.
      • Re:NSA and AT&T (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Trigun (685027)
        Face it, we all had our suspicions, but never really thought that there was enough processing power to datamine that much information. We always knew it was going on, but thought that there was too much data to effectively sift.

        Well brother, they're sifting!
    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:21PM (#15095864)
      Your world. Delivered...
      to the NSA.
  • Worrisome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Winlin (42941) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:23PM (#15095674)
    And not just for those people who dislike the current administartion. As has been said before, even if you approve of Bush, how will you like President (Clinton, Kerry, Gore, etc) having this same technology at their disposal. It is dangerous for any government to be able to monitor its citizens this thoroughly, no matter what the original intent might be.
    • And not just for those people who dislike the current administartion. As has been said before, even if you approve of Bush, how will you like President (Clinton, Kerry, Gore, etc) having this same technology at their disposal. It is dangerous for any government to be able to monitor its citizens this thoroughly, no matter what the original intent might be.

      At one's disposal? LOL. This smells like the access to healthcare canard. Millions of poor folk can't afford health insurance, but the discussion is c
    • Re:Worrisome (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nutria (679911) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:56PM (#15095782)
      And not just for those people who dislike the current administartion. As has been said before, even if you approve of Bush, how will you like President (Clinton, Kerry, Gore, etc) having this same technology at their disposal.

      I totally agree with your sentiment. But...

      From TFA: this equipment was the Narus ST-6400, a machine that was capable of monitoring over 622 Mbits/second in real time in May, 2000 .

      W wasn't elected until November/December 2000.

      IOW, Clinton did this, not Bush. Remember Carnivore?

      • Re:Worrisome (Score:4, Interesting)

        by GSloop (165220) <networkguru@sl[ ].net ['oop' in gap]> on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:07PM (#15095815) Homepage
        FWIW, having the *ability* to tap is far different than actually using it.

        And using it when authorized and overseen by a neutral, independant party such as the FISA court, or a judge is far different than claiming some absolutely crazy crap, like, "it was authorized by the AUMF" or it's an inherent power in the constitution, or it's available for any president with W as their middle initial.

        As an aside, if an AUMF allows that kind of crap, then the next one ought to come just about the same time the sun turns into a red dwarf.

        -Greg
        • Re:Worrisome (Score:3, Insightful)

          by einhverfr (238914)
          This is true. The AUMF argument is exrtraordinarily dangerous and would effectively turn our nation into a military dictatorship.

          This being said, many of the most contraversial policies-- the criminalization of pure speech, the extraordinary rendition, and other serious erosions of human and civil rights actually began under Clinton. So unfortunately we cannot merely blame this on Bush as he is largely fulfilling Clinton's policies more than diverging from them.
        • FWIW, having the *ability* to tap is far different than actually using it.

          The Narus ST-6400 was just Carnivore's big brother (no pun intended).

          So, when Clinton was President, you trusted the FBI to always follow the rules? And for Bill, Hillary and Janet to follow them, too? ROTFLMAO. Because Carnivore could be so easily misused, the ACLU and the EFF screamed about it, too.

          Remember, Carnivore worked/works by looking at every packet, and then capturing those packets that were of interest to them. Just li
          • Re:Worrisome (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Planesdragon (210349) <`su.enotsleetseltsac' `ta' `todhsals'> on Sunday April 09, 2006 @06:29PM (#15096440) Homepage Journal
            IMNSHO, a lot of W-haters are exersizing selective amnesia regarding this case.

            Except that NO ONE has alleged that Clinton went around doing these things without regard to either the FISA court, or that he lied about how often he would be doing this sneaky thing.

            And if you think it all started with Clinton, then I've got to tell you about this bridge near his office that he wants me to sell you. It's a historic, early 19th century suspension bridge, no less. ;)
        • Oh, yes, so the Clinton Administration was just purchasing some vast computer system, capable of datamining gobs of internet traffic ... and you don't think they were planning on using it as a wide net?

          Wake up -- blaming this on anyone one administration, and certainly on any one person, is ridiculously shortsighted. Go ahead and blame it on Bush; the people that actually engineered this sort of policy, wherever they are in the NSA or various other government offices, will probably sell him down the river easily enough. Executives come and go every four or eight years, the attitudes that enable a project like this, even the raw technology itself, takes longer than that to put together.

          If you give in to the temptation to blame Bush, along with all the other sheeple over at Daily Kos, you're really ignoring the majority of the problem. It's akin to seeing an iceberg in front of your ship, and sawing off the part you can see above the water and then saying the problem is gone. No it's not, all you did was get rid of the very thing that allowed you to see the problem. The thing that's going to kill you is still lurking below the water. (Ignoring the rather obvious fact that a proportionally equal amount of the iceberg would come back up out of the water as soon as you cut the top off.)

          If you build a system that's capable of monitoring everyone's email, it's naive to think that it'll never be used. So the real problem here is that this system was constructed in such a way that it could be used indiscriminately, and to find an answer to why that happened, people have to be willing to look further back into the past than just G.W. Bush, something I'm not sure they're prepared to do. It's too easy and too satisfying to use something like this as political hay, rather than as the wake-up call it ought to be of how systemically out-of-control the government is, and has been for some time.

          The behavior of our current and less-than-beloved President is a symptom of a problem, not its root cause.
      • Re:Worrisome (Score:5, Insightful)

        by legirons (809082) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:26PM (#15095887)
        "IOW, Clinton did this, not Bush. Remember Carnivore?"

        What makes you think it's the president's idea? Surely the NSA does what the NSA does, regardless of the person who's theoretically supposed to be telling them what to do.

        People who've watched Yes Minister will know what I mean.

        Or if you've been watching the UK Home Office do its "ID cards" thing regardless of which figurehead is nominally in charge of the department. People used to say that it's all David Blunkett's fault, until he left and his old department of civil servants carried on doing exactly the same thing with a new "leader".

        People blame one president for what the FBI, NSA, DHS, etc. are up to, and when that president leaves, it all continues as if nothing had changed. Aren't government bureaucracies the same, the world over?
        • Re:Worrisome (Score:3, Insightful)

          by i kan reed (749298)
          in fact, forget whose fault it is anyways, just elect someone who will promise to stop it. As far as I know, there's no one like that up and running. We need someone.
        • Re:Worrisome (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Paladin144 (676391) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:51PM (#15095988) Homepage
          People blame one president for what the FBI, NSA, DHS, etc. are up to, and when that president leaves, it all continues as if nothing had changed. Aren't government bureaucracies the same, the world over?

          You are very much correct. In the US, we refer to it as the Military-Industrial Complex [wikipedia.org]. Some things don't change every 4 years, and the MIC is one of them. The Military-Industrial Complex is a term coined by Eisenhower to describe the entangled relationship of Congress, the Military and Big Business (industry - especially defense contractors).

          I've noticed how somethings in our government really don't change. Take Cuba for example. It's been over 45 years and our policy towards Cuba hasn't changed on iota, even after all the different administrations we've been through. In fact, the military very much wanted to attack Cuba back in the 60's. After JFK was able to defuse that situation they decided to escalate Vietnam instead. You see, we need to have wars every few years in order to keep our poor defense contractors fed. We try to minimize (American) casualties, but it's very important that we bomb the hell out of some poor backwards-ass country every few years so we can test out all our cool new weapons, while using up the old ones. We can't buy too many new bombs until we use up the old ones, and how will we field-test each new generation of soldiers unless there's a real conflict to fight in? War is just a business like any other. In fact, you could say it's the engine of our whole economy. Now that you know the War in Iraq is all about buying yachts for the executives and lobbyists of Boeing, Lockheed, and other megacorps, don't you feel so much better about it? War is the American way.

          • 1898 Redux. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Kadin2048 (468275)
            Actually I think the reason why we go to war every decade or so has a lot more to do with the American public's desire for it than any demand by the defense contractors. True, they get some benefit from it, but the last few wars that the U.S. has entered into have been done with widespread public support.

            I would argue that at the core of the American body politic's psyche there is a core of subconscious uneasiness and malaise, which is fed by the deep-rooted fear that as a nation we are becoming powerless,
          • Remember the Maine (Score:5, Interesting)

            by inKubus (199753) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @07:22PM (#15096659) Homepage Journal
            There's too much to talk about, but I think we should start calling it the Media-Military-Industrial Complex. The media is on the bandwagon now.

            I wanted to comment on the AT&T Thing. Narus is company that was started in America by some ex-Israeli Defense Forces people (unit 8200 alumni) who wanted to bring their Semantic monitoring software to America to sell to big telecom. This was always security software and Israel has always been very very far ahead in that realm (because of the "realities" there. There are a lot of these companies that were formed by ex-Defense people, specificially unit 8200. Checkpoint systems is another fine example.

            From this article [66.218.69.11] (direct link [cji.co.il]:

            Cautious estimates indicate that in the past few years, unit 8200 veterans have set up some 30 to 40 high-tech companies, including 5 to 10 that were floated on Wall Street. This correlation between serving in the intelligence unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental:
            Many of the technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by unit veterans.

            Anyway, the original goal was to make a bundle of money selling this stuff. Why? Well, it's useful for a number of reasons. Because the internet has been "redesigned" around business and commerce (and the needs of the consumer), the nature of the network has changed. From the original decentralized network (which did use leased phone lines from Ma Bell, so it's not really decentralized from THEM), now there are huge "tier 1" trunks that carry the majority of the transcontenental data. The idea in the late ninties of "IP Network Convergence" or Voice Data Video etc. all coming out of one pipe was the big hot one. Of course, how do you make money when people are only paying for their ISP connection. Enter "usage-based billing".

            The idea behind the Narus system was to create a system to track IP traffic and transactions semantically (because you still didn't know where the traffic might be coming from) and create a sort of database of records like they talked about in TFA. Like the old fashioned telcom "call records", these would record a source and target and the data transmitted. The data would only be stored if "relevant", ie: part of a usage-based service or today, "interesting" ie having actionable words or phrases, etc. Of course, then the thing in New York happened and all of a sudden there was a LOT of funding available for people who had the stuff in place or ready to go and a lot of the old red tape was struck down. Remember "karnivore?" Cohen and his more spooky cohorts made a few calls to 8200 friends (IDF and M*s*ad were working "closely" with the administration) and due to the no-bid process (not unlike that of the Iraq contractors and the Katrina and new york ground zero cleanup operations) they got the job in a sec.

            Of course, AT&T is going along because they need support for the big merger with SBC (putting most of the baby bells back together. AT&T was once the largest company on earth and they are set to do it again. Guess what, voice calls are still big business and how do you think your cell phone calls go from tower to tower. You guessed it, land lines..............AT&T has always been an evil company.

            Anyway, Narus is the key to everything now. The company was the one pushing for convergence from the beginning and now it's possible to monitor all traffic because it's all on IP. How convenient. Even an anonymizing proxy such as ToR cannot provide the protection you need if one of your packets happens to stray across one or more Narus points. It's a simple matter to monitor the packets and put together not only

    • You just hit the nail on the head. Personally, I'm not too worried about the Bush administration having certain additional powers but if this were 10 years ago I would have been screaming my head off.

      Too many people today are short sighted in not thinking that just because they don't have a problem with the current administration doesn't mean that the political climate won't change. 230 years of history proves that it will.

      LK
      • Re:Worrisome (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You should have been screaming your head off continuously for at least the last 40 years. Back when international "cables", more commonly known as telegrams, were the primary copiable international traffic, the carriers delivered mag tape logs of all traffic to the NSA. How do I know? I made the copies at one of the carriers.
    • Re:Worrisome (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kimvette (919543) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:32PM (#15095913) Homepage Journal
      A lot of conservatives feel let down by Bush, for any number of reasons - growth of government, spending increases, liberalization of handling of illegal aliens, Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, the whole Gitmo thing, not practicing actual forensic science and using profiling in airport security checks out of fear of 'offending' political correctness people, limiting of peaceful protests to alloted "free speech" zones, pledging tax dollars to "economic development" abroad (effectively boosting up our own competitors), not promoting energy independence, and many other reasons.

      The Republican party no longer stands for what it once did, but appears (at least at face value) be a form of liberalism of a different sort, bordering on fascism, either that or leading toward the mythical "new world order" which I used to read up on for kicks, but now after watching the Bush administration in action, now think that there may be at least some element of truth to those conspiracy theories which don't seem so crazy any more.

      Thankfully some Republicans have awoken and have realized that the GOP is not what it once was.

      In the next election whom do we vote for though? A big-government Democrat, or a big-government Republican, both of which seem to want to institute an Orwellian society?
      • Re:Worrisome (Score:3, Insightful)

        by einhverfr (238914)
        Well put.

        Part of the problem though is that we are what we are now, and a true conservative would make slow and incrimental changes away from it rather than the radical departures that we see from the Bush Administration (at least in their justifications rather than their actions).

        Finally I would suggest that the problem is not with the political parties as a whole but with the structure of our government. In particular, the role of the President is as non-conservative a role as you can find-- the Presiden
      • Re:Worrisome (Score:4, Insightful)

        by killjoe (766577) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @05:15PM (#15096115)
        You dilemma is kind of moot. Most people don't vote on those issues. In the next election the most important issues will be moral issues where a very hard line is drawn between republicans and democrats and the war with iran (yes I said iran).

        By bombing Iran Bush and flagging the abortion and gay marriage issues the republicans will be assured of a win in the next election.

        Nobody cares about the size of the govt. The republican party has a sure fire button to push with their electorate who are much more alarmed with homosexual "rights" then the size of the govt.
      • Re:Worrisome (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vought (160908)

        liberalization of handling of illegal aliens


        Did you mean Get hispanics to Vote Republican?
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:23PM (#15095677) Homepage Journal
    All your base really do belong to them.

    wow, and I mean just fucking WOW at the processing power alone.
    This thing makes echelon look like a toy.

    Since I live in the UK, this kind of technology is likely to be used here as well (since we have mandated supreme data retention laws)

    This is truly scary
    • This thing makes echelon look like a toy.

      Echelon is a probably a codename for a project which probably includes a lot of machines such as this.

      It is quite interesting to see the technology behind echelon be brought into the public eye.
    • wow, and I mean just fucking WOW at the processing power alone. This thing makes echelon look like a toy.

      Could someone explain to me what is so amazing about a system that pushes through 10 Gbit per second ?

      Yes, it is a lot - but not impossible or even very expensive. Split this up into 30 1 Gbit lines, stick a $2000 dual-core Athlons on the end of each and you get a $60K cluster that has a budget of 118 64-bit instructions per byte that comes in. Plenty enough to examine packet headers. If you need mo

  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:24PM (#15095682)
    What really bothers me about all this is the President's "F**k the laws, I have a job to do" attitude. How is this any different then the attitudes of the terrorists?

    We've all heard the saying: "Two wrongs don't make a right". Hasn't the Bush adminstration?

    The United States is a nation of LAWS...So many of you constantly remind us of that fact whenever p2p is mentioned here...yet many of these same people believe that our President has the right to IGNORE laws he doesn't want to follow.

    Why

    • Two words. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KitesWorld (901626) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:37PM (#15095721)
      'Absolute power'.

      A democratic government is supposed to have limited power by design. However, as they grow, they tend to cut themselves free of the shackles that their founders placed on them.
      If you're going to be suprised about anything, be suprised that it didn't happen sooner.
      • The Roman Republic lasted about as long as we did...
      • Re:Two words. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by MourningBlade (182180) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @07:41PM (#15096716) Homepage

        Democracies fall because the public can be bribed.

        Parliamentary governments fall because they either devolve into democracies, or they appoint a dictator because they can't get anything done.

        Our constitutional republic is structured so that state governments have broader areas of control than the national government[1], but those walls have been broken down. Once it was discovered that, even though it's technically easier to influence state policy, pandering and political acts are more effective and visible at the national level the fight against constitutional restrictions began in true.

        If we fall, it will be either because we have created a dictatorship or a democracy at the national level.

        I believe the cure isn't better policies at the national level, it's the reaffirmation of the power of the states.

        Unfortunately, a quick look at how many public-interest causes primarily lobby at the national level versus the state level is rather disenheartening.[2]

        Though all may not be lost - as ideologues and ninnies have controlled the federal government, it has set up an antagonism with state and city governments. The recent movement (largely symbolic) by states and cities to forbid police cooperation with the USAPATRIOT act and - even more promising - with some aspects of the drug war[3], and issuing proclamations condemning national acts...well, it's heartening.

        [1] - it's worth noting that corruption at the state and city level is many times worse than the wet dreams of the federal congress.

        [2] - I don't have any direct numbers here - going off memory and a survey of some causes that I know. If anyone has better numbers....

        [3] - Several states (California among them, I believe) have forbidden their officers from providing support to the DEA in drug raids. Some have done this for cannabis, as they have medical marijuana laws. Others have done it for financial reasons.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why are people so consistently surprised by this kind of news. I've come to simply expect that corporations are in full swing of subjugating the general public.
    • by mrchaotica (681592) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:39PM (#15095729)
      I've come to simply expect that corporations are in full swing of subjugating the general public.
      There's a word for that system of government: Fascism.
      • by Paladin144 (676391) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:33PM (#15095917) Homepage
        There's a word for that system of government: Fascism.

        I'm surprised that you haven't been modded flamebait already by the (guess who!) fascists. I'm glad you weren't modded down, because you are 100% correct.

        I understand those of you who are in denial, however. The idea that America is slowly going fascist is a big, painful pill to swallow. However, the fact remains that corporations have unprecedented control of our society, and our government. Corporations are the primary institution of our time, just as capitalism is primary ideology (not democracy, that's for sure. How often do you vote? How often do you shop? Compare.) of 21st century America. Add to this unfortunate mix the shadow government in the form of the Military-Industrial Complex [wikipedia.org], and you have a recipe for the hidden hand of fascism.

        I leave you with a quote from Mussolini:

        "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

      • "I've come to simply expect that corporations are in full swing of subjugating the general public."

        "There's a word for that system of government: Fascism."

        Fascism is a power-triangle between the military, politicians, and an aristocracy. It was a Roman invention - Rome was a fascist state. The Germans added racial components, some romantic fairytales, and voila -- nazism.

        The complete melding of corporations and government is the definition of communism.

        Surely you did not mean to mislead us (?).

        • The difference is that communism leaves the control in the hands of the people at large, while capitalism concentrates control in the hands of the wealthy few, while the public is expected to stay a herd of mindless, consuming sheep.
      • There's a word for that system of government: Fascism

        We here at AT&T prefer to use the term: "Pervasively Administered Law and Order Regimes, with Ongoing Profitable Public/Private Synergistic Relationships"
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:25PM (#15095685)
    The latest generation is called NarusInsight, capable of monitoring 10 billion bits of data per second.

    That's 1192MB/s, not exactly what I'd call enough to monitor the entire innurnet in real time, which means somewhere along the way, AT+T must be doing some filtering, which is even sadder.

    On the other hand, that's roughly 2 CD-sized full-length movies a second, so that's about 2 hours worth of pr0n per second, which means that it takes a stadium packed with 7200 naked NSA agents and a truck full of Kleenex tissues to check out all the videos in real-time...
    • Already done for us. Thankfully it's no longer under copyright, so I can post it. The Hollow Men - T. S. Eliot (1925)

      I

      We are the hollow men/ We are the stuffed men/ Leaning together/ Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!/ Our dried voices, when/ We whisper together/ Are quiet and meaningless/ As wind in dry grass/ Or rats' feet over broken glass/ In our dry cellar/

      [Slashdot complained about too few characters to per line so some is reformatted]

      Shape without form, shade without colour,/ Paralysed fo
    • That's 1192MB/s, not exactly what I'd call enough to monitor the entire innurnet in real time, which means somewhere along the way, AT+T must be doing some filtering, which is even sadder.

      From what I have read in other articles, there are rooms at other sites that also do this monitoring. So even though the single installation isn't fast enough to monitor in real-time, collectively it would certainly be powerful to monitor AT&T's part of it in real time.
    • Ten gigs a second is peanuts, but obviously there's more than one of these things ... and presumably the next generation will be even faster.

      which means that it takes a stadium packed with 7200 naked NSA agents and a truck full of Kleenex tissues to check out all the videos in real-time...

      Thanks for the image.
  • by Chris Snook (872473) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:32PM (#15095706)
    I couldn't find this software on sourceforge or freshmeat. It really troubles me that the US government is using proprietary software to violate our constitutional rights.
  • by cortana (588495) <sam AT robots DOT org DOT uk> on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:40PM (#15095732) Homepage
    Area 51. You heard of it, right? I worked out there. Most people think they've got aliens from another planet, but I didn't see any flying saucers.

    Something's going on underground. I'm a pilot, which means I didn't get access to the main complex, but a lot of rock comes out of there; it's some kind of mine. But what I don't understand is why they're always laying more fiber-optic cables.

    You know what I think? I think that's where the UN moved Echelon IV, back when they promised they were going to stop spying on people. They want to centralize everything -- every computer on the planet.
    Also, here's an exerpt from a book I stumbled upon:
    When one maniac can wipe out a city of twenty million with a microbe developed in his basement, a new approach to law enforcement becomes necessary. Every citizen in the world must be placed under surveillance. That means sky-cams at every intersection, computer-mediated analysis of every phone call, e-mail, and snail-mail, and a purely electronic economy in which every transaction is recorded and data-mined for suspicious activity.

    We are close to achieving this goal. Some would say that human liberty has been compromised, but the reality is just the opposite. As surveillance expands, people become free from danger, free to walk alone at night, free to work in a safe place, and free to buy any legal product or service without the threat of fraud. One day every man and woman will quietly earn credits, purchase items for quiet homes on quiet streets, have cook-outs with neighbors and strangers alike, and sleep with doors and windows wide open. If that isn't the tranquil dream of every free civilization throughout history, what is?
    (thanks W. Spector et. al.)
  • by realmolo (574068) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:41PM (#15095735)
    Seriously. The ISP I work for buys it's bandwidth from AT&T, but this week I'm talking to the boss about dumping them. The whole "we're going to charge Google to send data to our customers" thing was bad enough, and now we find out they're collaborating with the fucking NSA? Monitorying OUR traffic without telling us?

    Screw AT&T. They aren't going to get my companies money, and I expect that I'm not the only one who is going to ditch them.

    They should be sued into oblivion.
    • Good luck with that. Not to be a party pooper as this is /. and everybody here loves a good conspiracy theory and hates 'the man', but there are only a few huge global data telecom carriers in the world. AT&T happens to be among the big ones. So regardless of who gets your money, some of that money will get to AT&T regardless through backend peer agreements, leasing of lines and/or space from AT&T CO's, etc. It is naive to think that you can take all of your companies money away from AT&
    • Why would you change? Do you really think that only ATT is doing this? Do you honest believe that no other backbone carrier is working with US gov? Do you think that this is the only installation? If so, then ignorance is bliss.
    • Look into Hurricane Electric. We buy bandwidth from them in the GBps range, they don't push data to pick-your-acronym-gov.-agency, and the bandwidth is priced right (plus, latency is rockstar).

      Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with HE. I am simply a satisfied customer.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I would assume that any business would set up a encrypted VPN tunnel as soon as their network was to enter the telco. So assumming that this was the case, how would this device (sitting inside the telco cloud) Monitor any of this traffic. Furthermore, I dont see how the device would be able to construct "a total network view" from within the telco even without encryption. (The firewall would block ping sweeps or other reconnasance based attacks) Joe consumer on the other hand, would not have a encrypted
  • by cervo (626632) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:43PM (#15095742) Journal
    Yes spying and everything is wrong. But with the NSA having more power than ever and needing to acquire/sift through more and more information all the time, wouldn't it be a very cool place to work.

    http://www.nsa.gov/careers/ [nsa.gov] has links to all the areas. The only thing I found extraordinarily interesting is that computer programming type skills (ie Software Engineering) is more under the Computer Engineering/Electrical engineering career track than the computer science one.

    The only question is that if you should decide to leave the NSA or are fired, does termination extend to more than your employment? Although seriously it does seem like a very geek friendly place to work.
    • As they say, Better to rule in Hell, than serve in Heaven.
  • Tor (Score:3, Informative)

    by ChadL (880878) * on Sunday April 09, 2006 @03:43PM (#15095747) Homepage
    Tor (http://tor.eff.org/ [eff.org]) is a good way to prevent the government (or anyone else) from watching what sites you go to.
    It can be a little slow at times, but you do not need to use it all the time (unless you are very paranoid).
  • next frontier (Score:5, Interesting)

    by argoff (142580) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:01PM (#15095795)
    Has anyone else been looking for the next frontier of freedom. What I mean is that for the longest time, the USA was the last frontier in freedom. If people in the world wanted to be free, they would find their way to the United States. While the USA is still more free than most places, the deterioration over the last 80 years has been notable.

    Since most of the land in the world is claimed by less than free governments, I'm wondering if the next frontier in freedom needs to be sea based. I suppose for the next few decades people can probably use technologies to secure their freedoms, crypto, open source, etc..., but that won't get arround the physical controll problem. Eventually people will need to physically secure their freedoms.

    Maybe the solution is for a bunch of liberty minded people to collaberate together to take controll of a small despot country, but that still would make it very vulnerable to larger military powers. Moving to more free states, juridistictions, and countries would probably help, but doen't seem like a permanent solution. Maybe it would be possible to convince all the freedom hating overloards to go somewhere else, but that seems unlikely too.
    • Re:next frontier (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lamp540 (644770) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:17PM (#15095854) Homepage
      we're pretty much fucked.
    • Re:next frontier (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xenophrak (457095)

      I think you mean something like this [freedomship.com]?

      The problem with any sovereign nation, especially one at sea is the dependence on external resources. Just ask Japan how it goes.

      I do think this is a cool idea, there is plenty of water given desalinization, and if you have a small nuclear reactor on board, you can generate heat and electricity for 15 years per refit. But food? Granted you can grow your own hydroponics, but for the number of people they are talking about, the infrastructure would be quite large.
    • Check out seasteading [seastead.org]. It's pretty much what you're talking about, a bunch of deep sea floating colonies. Of course, your internet traffic would likely still be monitored. The best way to deal with this is A two fold strategy:

      One. Encryption, lots of it, with lots of people using it.

      Two. Build a wireless network that never touches wire, a separate internet, if you will.
  • by hindumagic (232591) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:15PM (#15095846)
    More people are starting to use the internet for their personal correspondence and business.

    There are strict laws governing snail mail to protect against this very abuse we're seeing, among others. Imagine if companies, and the government, were able to know every bit of content in your snail mail? Would you be comfortable with that? What if every bit of your communication is available to the highest bidder? (a possible outcome of all this if something isn't done now)

    Change the laws! Why is this information not as important as the stuff that goes on paper? Apply the same mindset that we have with the mail system towards internet traffic. I'd be fine if they recorded traffic's origin and destination, but they shouldn't lawfully have access to the *content* of my correspondence.

    Technology is only going to make this oversight easier and easier. We have to educate people and change attitudes starting now.
  • Watergate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HermanAB (661181) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:19PM (#15095859)
    Well, it seems Ol'Nixon wasn't so bad after all...
  • by fred911 (83970) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:20PM (#15095863)
    http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,70621-0.htm l [wired.com] (Wired). An interview of a guy that works (ed?) for ATT that the EFF has subpoenaed as a witness. Talks about the physical connection made and how/when they did it.
  • by unitron (5733) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:27PM (#15095894) Homepage Journal
    Notice the part of the article that cites another article from 1999?

    Back then they were talking about how wonderful it was to spy on everyone so some internet traffic could be charged a higher rate to be passed along.

    Nearer the top of the page it mentions that previous to September 11, 2001 they wanted to analyze everything to prevent "revenue leakage", which I take to be the industry term of art meaning "a failure to exploit loopholes and monopolies to screw everyone out of every last penny".

    Now they can be greedy and "patriotic".

  • by NoSuchGuy (308510) <do-not-harvest-m ... dot@spa.mtrap.de> on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:35PM (#15095921) Journal
    Tell your politicans that 1984 is NOT a howto!

  • by SigILL (6475) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:38PM (#15095938) Homepage
    What I'd be interested in is if this device does real-time packet reassembly and flow recovery. If not, what's to keep a terrorist from putting "BO" in one packet and "MB" in a following one? Or doing nasty stuff with fragmented IP packets?

    Running a packet-oriented grep on a large datastream is not that hard (ie. easily solvable if you throw enough processing power at it). If the government's sniffers can reassemble packets and recover flows real-time, *then* worry.
  • by geekp0wer (516841) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @04:45PM (#15095965) Homepage
    There was not much on the mainstream news sites other than the initial news story last week so I googled ["electronic frontier foundation" narus]. The first link was to a no longer available article at siliconvalley.com. The good news is that the google cache was still there.

    http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:nc4cgqbKTjoJ:w ww.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/business/sp ecial_packages/security/2579675.htm+electronic+fro ntier+foundation%22+narus&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1 " [72.14.203.104]

    The article appears to be a lead in for a round table discussion where both the EFF and Narus participated but I can not find the details of the conversation. Anyone else able to get their hand on it? Please post it to slashdot.
  • I'm not sure, but what we do know is that he liked to keep secret files on anybody who was anybody. Such files having been obtained through generally illegal eavesdropping and spying on citizens. The law specifically forbids the CIA from operating within the US and so he turned the FBI on us. Now it's the NSA. Welcome to the new age, same as the old age. This was what FISA was specifically meant to protect against. I guess our leaker-in-chief really is just Judge Dredd in disguise..."I AM the law!!!"
  • by EMIce (30092) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @05:22PM (#15096144) Homepage
    I read in some articles that according to papers filed with the court, they are using a piece of equipment called the Narus STA 6400. I googled for this model and the first result is the following -


    NARUS Delivers Industry's Most Scalable Internet Business ...
    Fully configured, the Model 6400 captures application-layer usage details via NARUS Semantic Traffic Analysis (STA) on up to six full-duplex 100 BaseT ...
    www.findwealth.com/narus-delivers-industrys-most-s calable-160875pr.html - 27k - Supplemental Result - Cached - Similar pages


    This page has dissapeared from the server and it can't be found in google cache. Does anyone know much about this model? What sort of processing power is behind it and what are it's capabilities? It looks to have the ability to sniff through 600 mbps each up and downstream from the snippet above, but little else is known.

    Also, only this first google result seems to have relevant info on this device. If anyone here has more info, please post. A lot of us are curious, especially considering that the administration has been saying they only sniffed suspicious communications.
  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @06:49PM (#15096520) Homepage
    Why am I not surprised? Plus his company is invested in by Walden Israel, a VC division of Walden International. Walden Israel is headed by a guy who spent five years with a company developing optics for the ISRAELI MILITARY.

    Why am I not surprised?

    First, an Israeli company in charge of Federal wiretapping gets caught selling wiretapping info to drug dealers in LA and the FBI gets upset over their access to Federal wiretaps.

    Now this - an NSA guy and an Israeli running the company sucking data into the NSA - and the Mossad?

    As I've said before, Israel has figured out that the best way to spy on people is to be the country making all the telecommo hardware and software all the other countries use to spy on people. Brilliant strategy - and it's working.
  • by hackus (159037) on Sunday April 09, 2006 @09:32PM (#15097022) Homepage
    Its the same thing over again through out history.

    100 Revolution
    200 Citizens get peacetime
    300 Citizens get stupid and complacent
    400 Givernment Goons get the upper hand
    500 People die, people get upset
    600 Government gets out of control
    700 goto 100

    -Hackus
  • by Millard Fillmore (197731) on Monday April 10, 2006 @12:33AM (#15097430) Homepage Journal
    I did a little poking around, and Bloomberg is the only mainstream news service/news website with any stories about the EFF lawsuit or the Mark Klein statement. How come the general media hasn't picked up this story? Isn't it newsworthy that Ma Bell is being sued for colluding with an illegal government domestic spying dragnet?

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