[NetBehaviour] Watching What You Say.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Mon Oct 9 12:50:38 CEST 2006

Watching What You Say.

by Tim Shorrock

Two months after the New York Times revealed that the Bush 
Administration ordered the National Security Agency to conduct 
warrantless surveillance of American citizens, only three 
corporations--AT&T, Sprint and MCI--have been identified by the media as 
cooperating. If the reports in the Times and other newspapers are true, 
these companies have allowed the NSA to intercept thousands of telephone 
calls, fax messages and e-mails without warrants from a special 
oversight court established by Congress under the 1978 Foreign 
Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Some companies, according to the 
same reports, have given the NSA a direct hookup to their huge databases 
of communications records. The NSA, using the same supercomputers that 
analyze foreign communications, sifts through this data for key words 
and phrases that could indicate communication to or from suspected 
terrorists or terrorist sympathizers and then tracks those individuals 
and their ever-widening circle of associates. "This is the US version of 
Echelon," says Albert Gidari, a prominent telecommunications attorney in 
Seattle, referring to a massive eavesdropping program run by the NSA and 
its English-speaking counterparts that created a huge controversy in 
Europe in the late 1990s.


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