Tuesday, May 23, 2006

They've got it all...

Your email, your instant messages, your websites visited, your online credit card transactions and your Voice Over Internet Protocol phone traffic. They have all of it.


This outfit, that's who. From Wired News Robert Poe comes this report on the NSA's illegal wiretap program and the AT&T involvement. But it is the presence of Narus that should be the most unnerving.

"Anything that comes through (an internet protocol network), we can record," says Steve Bannerman, marketing vice president of Narus, a Mountain View, California, company. "We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their (voice over internet protocol) calls."
And don't even think you can encrypt your traffic. The Narus Semantic Traffic Analyzer is capable of seven layer penetration.

All of this came to light when former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, blew the whistle on AT&T's involvement in domestic wiretapping. Wired News also has that information including the raw evidence provided by Klein, including graphics and pictures.

If there was any question about the ethics of Narus, consider that the software they launched publicly in 2005 was already installed in AT&T's secret rooms. Narus claims they do nothing illegal, and from the looks of it, they don't. But they neither care nor care to know if their customers are engaged in illegal activity.

"Our product is designed to comply (with) all of the laws in all of the countries we ship to," says Bannerman. "Many of our customers have built their own applications. We have no idea what they do."
Of course, Narus offers its customers software development packages. A client can do their own thing.

Does Narus know if the client is required to get a warrant? Yes sometimes.

Narus has little control over how its products are used after they're sold. For example, although its lawful-intercept application has a sophisticated system for making sure the surveillance complies with the terms of a warrant, it's up to the operator whether to type those terms into the system, says Bannerman.
Once the money has changed hands, that's it. And Big Brother is handed a weapon... which can be used illegally. It's the same ethic employed by Colt.

In a totally unrelated story, US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says the government has the authority to prosecute journalists, depending on how you read some selected statutes and if you ignore the 1st Amendment completely. The only thing interesting about that is the timing. It's one of those coincidence things.

Given that the United States has the largest documented prison population in the world in both absolute and proportional terms, (2.03 million prisoners @ 701 per 100,000) adding a few journalists to a US growth industry will hardly be noticed.

Maybe start with this piece of detritus.

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