AT&T reportedly spied on its customers, sold data to US law enforcement agencies

By midian182 ยท 12 replies
Oct 27, 2016
Post New Reply
  1. AT&T has reportedly been spying on its customers and selling the information to law enforcement agencies. The Daily Beast reports that the company’s Project Hemisphere was able to search trillions of call records, determine a target's location, and find out who took part in the call.

    The information gathered from this surveillance was bought using millions of taxpayer dollars for the purpose of investigating cases such as homicides, narcotics trafficking, and fraud. AT&T documents state that a warrant isn’t required to access Hemisphere; all that's needed is an administrative subpoena, which does not require probable cause. Law agencies promised not to disclose Hemisphere if an investigation became public.

    “The for-profit spying program that these documents detail is more terrifying than the illegal NSA surveillance programs that Edward Snowden exposed... If companies are allowed to operate in this manner without repercussions, our democracy has no future,” Evan Greer, campaign director for digital rights group Fight for the Future, told Newsweek.

    The New York Times reported Hemisphere’s existence in 2013. Back then it was described as a small-scale “partnership” between AT&T and the government that was used as a tool in the fight against drugs.

    AT&T isn’t the only firm to face spying allegations. Earlier this month, it was reported that Yahoo had secretly built custom software last year that scanned all of its customers’ incoming emails for information provided by US intelligence officials.

    Responding to the claims, AT&T told the Beast that there is “no special database.” The company also issued the following statement: “Like other communications companies, if a government agency seeks customer call records through a subpoena, court order or other mandatory legal process, we are required by law to provide this non-content information, such as the phone numbers and the date and time of calls.”

    The revelations arrive just as AT&T is in the process of purchasing Time Warner in an $85.4 billion deal. The merger now looks as if it will require FCC approval, and has been criticized by consumer advocacy groups, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton.

    Permalink to story.

  2. andrewdoyle88

    andrewdoyle88 TS Booster Posts: 113   +95

    I now just assume any time I'm using a piece of technology hooked up to any type of network that big brother is watching. As long as you're a decent human being you don't have much to worry about.
  3. I'm so shocked...NOT...and I'm a decent human being and I find it very troubling
    Big Brother is no fun, just ask people who have lived in countries that are run by him
    Ivangela likes this.
  4. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    The trouble comes when we ask ourselves what is the definition of "decent" and who gets to define it. It used to be whomever you were in the privacy of your own home didn't matter, as long as it stayed entirely within the confines of that home. With mass spying for its own sake, and in the name of "safety", that is no longer the case. You're going to see people force themselves to change their behavior, and that is only going to lead to problems with their mental health.
  5. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 781   +235

    Unfortunately, the definition for being a decent human being is vague, and pretty much all of us can be framed to look like freaks.
  6. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,595   +257

    You should value your privacy a little bit more. Hell, companies are making money off of it, would you like some of that money BACK... at least?

    BTW, welcome to the being the first person to comment. You've been quoted at least 3 times already, and there's..... 5 posts, counting yours. lmao

    Edit: Dozen more incoming. lol

    Double edit: I like your avatar picture.
    andrewdoyle88 likes this.
  7. andrewdoyle88

    andrewdoyle88 TS Booster Posts: 113   +95


    I stirred the pot for sure! I read 1984 earlier this year for the first time and felt extremely depressed after finishing. Maybe I'm putting too much faith in humanity that we would never get to that point... but we can't forget about that Hitler guy; imagine if he had the spying capabilities of today? I just finished reading Homo Deus yesterday, frighteningly accurate. The way I see it, current technology has data collection as it's main focus - you either share you data or simply don't use the technology. Phew, I'm getting way too deep for a tech article comment. Back to cat videos.
    Trillionsin likes this.
  8. fl21289

    fl21289 TS Booster Posts: 60   +40

    VPN up your devices folks!
  9. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 781   +235

    This is a good recommendation no doubt, but then your VPN simply becomes your weakest link.
  10. Ivangela

    Ivangela TS Rookie Posts: 17

    While I make the same assumption, I don't approve that I should make it and totally disagree with the apathy and naivete you show.
    Who will define your "decent human being"? Does that mean a particular political party or ideology or is it one that obeys the law, etc
    Unlimited information gathering with no supervision is scary and very big brotherish. At some point you are going to look/feel/behave in a way that someone/entity disapproves of and then what...they're coming for you!
  11. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 812   +371

    Good, wish everyone did this.
  12. BobHome

    BobHome TS Member Posts: 18

    Ahhh... don't you just love this time in history and the levels of technology we're achieving?

    In the 50's the government and 'big' business did much of what is happening today. But with the internet and all the portable communications devices we have now, 'they' can't hide their practices as easily as they used to.

    Yes, we've lost a lot of privacy--but so have 'they'. :)
  13. bluto 2050

    bluto 2050 TS Addict Posts: 270   +33

    Everything is for sale , our politicians,DOJ,FBI,IRS ,the main stream media , and our privacy via the ISP's too ! The kleptomaniacs in Silly Con Valley are solidly behind Crooked Hillary and her corrupt legacy of ruin and abject failures so IMO they are not behind America although Trump is the other unfavorable choice and both parties are corrupt .
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...