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Thread: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

  1. #1

    Default Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2007_06.php#005304

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Whistleblower Declaration and Other Key Documents Released to Public

    San Francisco - More documents detailing secret government surveillance of AT&T's Internet traffic have been released to the public as part of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) class-action lawsuit against the telecom giant.

    Some of the unsealed information was previously made public in redacted form. But after negotiations with AT&T, EFF has filed newly unredacted documents describing a secret, secure room in AT&T's facilities that gave the National Security Agency (NSA) direct access to customers' emails and other Internet communications. These include several internal AT&T documents that have long been available on media websites, EFF's legal arguments to the 9th Circuit, and the full declarations of whistleblower Mark Klein and of J. Scott Marcus, the former Senior Advisor for Internet Technology to the Federal Communications Commission, who bolsters and explains EFF's evidence.

    "This is critical evidence supporting our claim that AT&T is cooperating with the NSA in the illegal dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "This surveillance is under debate in Congress and across the nation, as well as in the courts. The public has a right to see these important documents, the declarations from our witnesses, and our legal arguments, and we are very pleased to release them."

    EFF filed the class-action suit against AT&T last year, accusing the telecom giant of illegally assisting in the NSA's spying on millions of ordinary Americans. The lower court allowed the case to proceed and the government has now asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case, claiming that the lawsuit could expose state secrets. EFF's newly released brief in response outlines how the case should go forward respecting both liberty and security.

    "The District Court rejected the government's attempt to sweep this case under the rug," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "This country has a long tradition of open court proceedings, and we're pleased that as we present our case to the Court of Appeals, the millions of affected AT&T customers will be able to see our arguments and evidence and judge for themselves."

    Oral arguments in the 9th Circuit appeal are set for the week of August 13.

    For the unredacted Klein declaration:
    http://eff.org/legal/cases/att/SER_klein_decl.pdf

    For the internal documents:
    http://eff.org/legal/cases/att/SER_klein_exhibits.pdf

    For the unredacted Marcus declaration:
    http://eff.org/legal/cases/att/SER_marcus_decl.pdf

    For EFF's 9th Circuit brief:
    http://eff.org/legal/cases/att/9thanswerbrief.pdf

    For more on the class-action lawsuit against AT&T:
    http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att/

    Contacts:

    Cindy Cohn
    Legal Director
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    cindy@eff.org

    Kurt Opsahl
    Senior Staff Attorney
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    kurt@eff.org


    Remember how a while ago we were talking about Mr. Bush's act about pushing wiretapping for non-US citizens, and making that legal without a court order (IIRC) ?

    Remember how some members were all up in arms about it, and other members were pointing out that this only affects non-American citizens, and Americans have nothing to worry about, that it doesn't affect your privacy, etc ?

    Well, it's to the latter set of Orgahs that I'm dedicating this article.

    (btw, I love the predefined prefixes )
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  2. #2
    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    Well, since you started a thread, I'll just toss in the FBI's National Security Letter abuse:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...061302453.html
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, far more than was documented in a Justice Department report in March that ignited bipartisan congressional criticism.

    The new audit covers just 10 percent of the bureau's national security investigations since 2002, and so the mistakes in the FBI's domestic surveillance efforts probably number several thousand, bureau officials said in interviews. The earlier report found 22 violations in a much smaller sampling.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    Thanks, drone - it will be my pleasure to share my bread with you in Gitmo.
    Therapy helps, but screaming obscenities is cheaper.

  4. #4
    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    Quote Originally Posted by Blodrast
    Thanks, drone - it will be my pleasure to share my bread with you in Gitmo.
    Hopefully we get renditioned to Eastern Europe first. I imagine Cuba is a sauna this time of year. Might actually look forward to the waterboarding.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    Quote Originally Posted by drone
    Hopefully we get renditioned to Eastern Europe first. I imagine Cuba is a sauna this time of year. Might actually look forward to the waterboarding.
    Dude, Eastern Europe would be best - I've lived there for 24 years!
    Kinda crappy living conditions, but I guess it makes up for that (at least in part) by having lots of hot (and erm, affordable ) girls.

    No tv in prisons, though.
    Therapy helps, but screaming obscenities is cheaper.

  6. #6
    The very model of a modern Moderator Xiahou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    The wire-tapping was about just that- wire-tapping. What you've posted is about email monitoring. They're different issues. Emails can easily be obtained via NSLs. I'm not comfortable with the way that NSLs are currently constituted, as they basically allow the feds to subpoena personal information at will. Sadly, no significant numbers of Dem or Rep representatives are willing to do anything about NSLs.

    As to AT&T vs the EFF- is there anything in AT&T's contracts with their customers that says email communications are protected? I always thought the prevailing wisdom was that emails are usually the property of the ISP unless otherwise stated. I know that's certainly the case for businesses/schools. You'd still expect AT&T to handle the information responsibly, of course, but I'm just wondering where the EFF's "illegal" charge comes from.
    "Don't believe everything you read online."
    -Abraham Lincoln

  7. #7

    Default Re: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou
    The wire-tapping was about just that- wire-tapping. What you've posted is about email monitoring. They're different issues.
    Yet they're very much related in that they both deal with the privacy of the average American citizen. That's what I tried to point out, and make clear, in my original post. Why are you splitting hairs here ? The point is they're both ignoring any rights to privacy and confidentiality...

    Quote Originally Posted by Xiahou
    Emails can easily be obtained via NSLs. I'm not comfortable with the way that NSLs are currently constituted, as they basically allow the feds to subpoena personal information at will. Sadly, no significant numbers of Dem or Rep representatives are willing to do anything about NSLs.
    I don't know what NSL stands for...

    As to AT&T vs the EFF- is there anything in AT&T's contracts with their customers that says email communications are protected? I always thought the prevailing wisdom was that emails are usually the property of the ISP unless otherwise stated. I know that's certainly the case for businesses/schools. You'd still expect AT&T to handle the information responsibly, of course, but I'm just wondering where the EFF's "illegal" charge comes from.
    I have no idea what the AT&T's contracts say, to be honest. I'm sure there's a lot of fine print that only lawyers really know what it means, as in all contracts these days.

    As far as I know, nobody is allowed to give access to confidential/personal information (which includes emails) without your explicit consent.

    If what you're implying was true, then there would never be anything illegal about any gov't intrusion on your privacy, of any kind - it would all be legal, since there is no such thing as a right to privacy (according to you).
    If what you're implying was true, why are there debates in the Congress about illegal wiretapping and such ?


    See, one issue I have with this kind of things is that their proponents hide behind the law - which they can change to suit them -, or some technicality which is highly subjective, and ends up being decided, in the end, by a court of law.
    This, instead of using morality, rather than technicalities.
    If the emails are the property of businesses/schools/etc, is it ok for them to publish them on the internet ? Unless you're playing stubborn, I'm sure you'll agree it's not ok. But it's perfectly legal, right ?
    It's the same situation here. Even if it is, technically speaking (and, like I said, I'm sure that's debatable and ends up being decided in a court of law, and then decided against, and then appealed, etc, etc), it's still wrong. If we pass a law that says one out of 10 people will be randomly killed, it will be legal, but it will still be wrong.
    Therapy helps, but screaming obscenities is cheaper.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    When it occurs to a man that nature does not regard him as important and that she feels she would not maim the universe by disposing of him, he at first wishes to throw bricks at the temple, and he hates deeply the fact that there are no bricks and no temples
    -Stephen Crane

  9. #9
    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    Quote Originally Posted by Blodrast
    I don't know what NSL stands for...
    NSL stands for National Security Letter. It basically means they can ask a "provider" (Telco, ISP, whatever) for information on you, and not only do they have to give them the info, but the provider is gagged on the NSL. NSLs used to be very limited, but thank you USA PATRIOT Act!
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    "Why do you hate the extremely limited Spartan version of freedom?" - Lemur

  10. #10

    Default Re: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    Quote Originally Posted by drone
    NSL stands for National Security Letter. It basically means they can ask a "provider" (Telco, ISP, whatever) for information on you, and not only do they have to give them the info, but the provider is gagged on the NSL. NSLs used to be very limited, but thank you USA PATRIOT Act!
    Ah, ok, now I know what you're talking about - thank you for the explanation, drone!
    Therapy helps, but screaming obscenities is cheaper.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

    Update:

    Court Protects Email from Secret Government Searches
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    June 18, 2007
    Court Protects Email from Secret Government Searches

    Landmark Ruling Gives Email Same Constitutional Protections as Phone Calls

    San Francisco - The government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers, according to a landmark ruling Monday in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court found that email users have the same reasonable expectation of privacy in their stored email as they do in their telephone calls -- the first circuit court ever to make that finding.

    Over the last 20 years, the government has routinely used the federal Stored Communications Act (SCA) to secretly obtain stored email from email service providers without a warrant. But today's ruling -- closely following the reasoning in an amicus brief filed the by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and other civil liberties groups -- found that the SCA violates the Fourth Amendment.

    "Email users expect that their Hotmail and Gmail inboxes are just as private as their postal mail and their telephone calls," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "The government tried to get around this common-sense conclusion, but the Constitution applies online as well as offline, as the court correctly found. That means that the government can't secretly seize your emails without a warrant."

    Warshak v. United States was brought in the Southern District of Ohio federal court by Steven Warshak to stop the government's repeated secret searches and seizures of his stored email using the SCA. The district court ruled that the government cannot use the SCA to obtain stored email without a warrant or prior notice to the email account holder, but the government appealed that ruling to the 6th Circuit. EFF served as an amicus in the case, joined by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy & Technology. Law professors Susan Freiwald and Patricia Bellia also submitted an amicus brief, and the case was successfully argued at the 6th Circuit by Warshak's counsel Martin Weinberg.

    For the full ruling in Warshak v. United States:
    http://eff.org/legal/cases/warshak_v...injunction.pdf

    For EFF's resources on the case, including its amicus brief:
    http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/warshak_v_usa

    Contacts:

    Kevin Bankston
    Staff Attorney
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    bankston@eff.org
    Posted at 01:42 PM


    Yay!
    Therapy helps, but screaming obscenities is cheaper.

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