Why AT&T's 'Willingness' To Help NSA Is Alarming - InformationWeek

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Why AT&T's 'Willingness' To Help NSA Is Alarming
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TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2015 | 1:07:19 PM
AT&T has long history of this
If you've ever read the book Exploding the Phone by Phil Lapsley (a history of phone phreaks, the first hackers), this AT&T revelation is not a surprise. AT&T was so irritated by this community stealing free long distance they built their own Big Brother system to capture all phone traffic back in the 60s-70s. They used internally to work with FBI to track the phreaks down, especially the ones selling the black boxes to execute the hack. Once the FBI learned of it's existence, they buddied up with AT&T to go after bookies. Bookies, because of needing frequent long distance calling, were huge customers of the hack.

The most interesting part of book to me was how close Wozniak and Steve Jobs came to getting busted by FBI. They were making some money building and selling black boxes long before Apple was even a gleam in their eye.
theb0x
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theb0x,
User Rank: Strategist
8/17/2015 | 1:28:31 PM
Subject of Your Post
While the actions of AT&T is alarming from a privacy perspective, the given information known with the actions of the NSA lead many to beleive that all these different technologies have already been compromised by the orginization in one way, form, or another.

Example:

The rise and 'fall' of the developement of Truecrypt.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2015 | 2:37:57 PM
What I worry about
If communication companies are help the NSA counter terrorist threats and treason, such as the doings of Assange and Snowden - Right On! What I worry about is if they are providing ordinary law enforcement with extraconstitutional help in solving ordinary crimes.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2015 | 6:00:52 PM
Re: What I worry about
If communication companies are help the NSA counter terrorist threats and treason, such as the doings of Assange and Snowden - Right On!

Wow! I just can't believe what I'm reading. I couldn't disagree with you more on this.

For many, the "doings" of Assange and Snowden are necessary steps to undermine the power of the empire. Some will call this justice, freedom and them, heroes. Not terrorists or traitors.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2015 | 8:05:25 PM
Re: AT&T has long history of this
I'm not sure I see anything wrong with a company trying to prevent theft of its service. It got even worse when the 1960's counterculture decided it was ok to steal services. In fact i think Abbey Hoffman wrote about this box in his book Steal This Book.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2015 | 8:09:25 PM
Re: What I worry about
I agree. Snowden has caused more harm to national security with his release of all this information. It is ironic that he is seeking asylum in an autocratic country with a history of abuses that he is supposedly against.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2015 | 9:05:30 PM
Re: What I worry about
I can't believe anyone would not want to have some sort of security in place to prevent another 9-11. It has nothing to do with "empire" and everything to do with security of a country's citizens. We are not talking about the Gestapo or KGB here. It's annoying like the TSA but i would rather have passengers screened before a plane flight than getting blown up at 35000 feet.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
8/18/2015 | 10:44:32 AM
Re: AT&T has long history of this
@tjgkg It was the way they went about it. Their system not only recorded the Caller/Callee numbers of every call in America but also the first couple of minutes of the actual conversation. Think that didn't help FBI bring down bookies?

And keep in mind they broke up the Bells for a reason, they were ripping everybody off back then. I agree with your basic premise it was theft but their approach to security on that old analog system was obscurity. These boxes were just sending tones into the system which got these phreaks into the backbone of the system. It really is fascinating to read how these people discovered and developed the hack. One of the first was actually a blind guy.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
8/18/2015 | 11:01:58 AM
Re: What I worry about
@Gary, one man's terrorist and treason is another man's patriot. Keep in mind that the British considered Americans terrorists and George Washington guilty of treason. I don't think Snowden had any other motivation in mind than trying to help. Whether you and I agree that helped or hurt is a whole different matter.

I happened to watch The Siege again on TV last night. There are just so many facets of this battle against these suicide terrorists. And is the NSA system really helping? Now you have lone wolves just walking into public places and shooting people. This idea we can secure ourselves back into 1950 is a joke. The world has fundamentally changed and not even a complete police state will make us any safer.

I'll just be happy if we can ever stop people from hacking our IRS records. The incompetence in our IT world is just staggering now.
DanK363
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DanK363,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/18/2015 | 11:43:19 AM
Re: What I worry about
The issue with the TSA is that it is all based on a PC version of the world, so you get them checking baby's diapers and old ladies in wheelchairs while avoiding any hint of profiling. With a different attitude toward security Israel has been successful in fending off terrorists - when was the last time you heard about an El Al flight being hijacked? When you add in the stunning lack of competence of the screeners, it is not surprising that over 90% of test bombs made it through the checkpoints in security tests at airports.
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