Unmasking AT&T

Just this week in a private discussion, I mentioned there is very little distance between AT&T and the US Government. The Intercept drops some information

https://theintercept.com/2018/06/25/att-internet-nsa-spy-hubs/

Back from the FindAnISP days, I was fairly certain much of the infrastructure of the Internet, especially underseas cables were able to offer transit and peering because the US government was funding it in order to monitor international traffic.

In general, I trust the Federal government, but can you imagine the potential abuse of human rights if Maxine Waters was in charge of our government?

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10 Responses to Unmasking AT&T

  1. Fred Stiening says:

    Congress should pass a law empowering the NSA to track down “Heather from account services”

  2. Fred Stiening says:

    It is widely known that AT&T was involved in using its undersea cable maintenance equipment to tap into undersea cables they did not own

    http://techchannel.att.com/play-video.cfm/2015/5/26/AT&T-Archives-SCARAB

  3. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    This ATT stuff has been going on since the invention of the telegraph. See the classic 1982 book “The Puzzle Palace” that documented that basically every international phone call was monitored by the US government… that meant ATT back at that time.

    It was my belief that the creation of a single “long distance” company out of the ATT split around that time was so that would provide a single entity for spying. That is pure speculation on my part.

    James Bamford, the author of “The Puzzle Palace” has written more books and articles since his 1982 classic. I’d urge anyone interested in the subject to read his works, starting with his 1982 classic

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Puzzle_Palace

    • foyle says:

      The Puzzle Palace is an excellent work, even at 36 years old, it is still work reading.

      I have often pondered how much ‘traditional’ spycraft is even necessary today when billions of people seem more than happy to create online dossiers of their every thought, deed, associations, and travels via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. That goldmine of volunteered data would make the East German Stasi blush in jealousy.

      Yet most people I mention this too just glaze at me with a dazed look, or laugh at my silly paranoia…

      • TheChairman says:

        The criteria for NSA to ‘legally’ monitor any phone is merely that it involve “international communications”. i.e. One end of the communication must be outside the United States.

        So, when Jane & John Doe call a customer service number for a product or service, and are routed to a call-center in India, they just fell under that rule… and a pretext for future monitoring has been established by stealth. How many people have made at least one call which connected to a CSR outside the USA?

        I gave up (a long time ago) on people with that dazed look… it disrupts their ‘blue pill’ state of mind, but only for an instant.

        • Fred Stiening says:

          For a while, telcos would route domestic phone calls through Canada and back, purportedly for tariff reasons.

          Maybe 5 years ago, I was playing Runescape with a woman from Singapore who had latency issues getting to the servers in London England. After doing a little trace routing, I grew to realize (back then) that almost all Asia traffic destined for anywhere in the World crossed the United States and went through a small number of East Coast locations that would be easy to monitor.

          The only Asia to Europe cable went around India and traversed through Israel and the Mediterranean to land in France. Since then, I think the Silk Road cable is open, but traverses through politically unstable countries and could be severed by a single uncomplicated covert operation.

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            It wouldn’t be hard for a telco to route all your calls through Canada if requested to do so.

            We generally don’t object if an ally is spying on our citizens and they generally don’t object if we are spying on theirs when there are data sharing agreements.

            Look at the British MI6 (British CIA/NSA) involvement in our last election with their “former” agent Christopher Steele working with Peter Strzok. Look at Australian Ambassador Alexander Downer’s $25 million donations to the Clinton’s and “snitch” to the FBI regarding George Papadopoulos after a British agent working for the FBI in the UK had planted information with Papadopoulos that he revealed to Downer.

            It is a complicated and sneaky game that often involves illegal activity, some for the benefit of the United States, but as we see, often for personal gain at the expense of the United States.

  4. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    “Facebook wants to spy on you by hiding secret inaudible messages in TV ads that force your phone to record your private conversations, patent reveals”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5882587/Facebook-wants-hide-secret-inaudible-messages-TV-ads-force-phone-record-audio.html

  5. TheChairman says:

    Pay no attention to the optical-splitter behind the curtain… it’s just a shadow mask.

    The Prisoner often asked: Who’s #1 ? (i.e. behind the mask) “You are number 6.”

    A few years ago, I told Fred I might reveal more about how FindAnISP was ‘utilized’, my work, and other deeds; but I’m not sure the statute of limitations has expired. :-\

    Disclaimer: FindAnISP was merely a public ‘phone book’ and had no involvement.

    While the purpose of FindAnISP was to locate a local dial-up provider, it also had a more fruitful use: locating open email relays. Back in the day, few ISP’s gave much thought to security, and many (if not most) ISP’s left their smtp ports open; partly because of ignorance and partly due to laziness or fast growth. While not globally comprehensive, FindAnISP covered most ISP’s in the U.S. With those, one could then sniff out other ISP’s & relays overseas and uncover ‘dark’ relays in hostile countries. e.g. China. That was The Wild Wild West (WWW) in the 90’s- 2000’s… open sky.

    In a few short years, we accumulated a large database of unsecured email relays.

    … to be continued (maybe)…

    • Fred Stiening says:

      Well, that is quite interesting. I did have a unique database and had several companies pay me for access to the data. The two I remember are a major telco that was accumulating data on reciprocal compensation demands where internet users were dialing AOL, etc using CLECs causing the ILEC to incur per minute charges. The ILEC tactic to charge per minute for call termination backfired big time.

      The other was a company that worked with hotels. When a guest dialed a phone number that was recognized as a dialup internet line, the (probably long duration) call was dumped out of the normal switchboard lines and connected differently.

      I have a vague memory of it being used by a telco to flag accounts where the caller did not know they were calling a long distance number and running up large bills

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