The National Security Agency keeps track of internet traffic with the help of AT&T Telecom Company.
Even though it has been widely known that American telephone companies work with the National Security Agency in order to spy on citizens, the NSA leaked documents prove that AT&T’s help was crucial for the National Security Agency.
The documents leaked by Edward Snowden date from 2003 to 2013. They show that the surveillance efforts of the National Security Agency were made possible with a little help from the American multinational telecommunication corporation. The documents described AT&T as “highly collaborative” and praised the company’s “extreme willingness to help”.
According to the leaked documents, spying on both foreign and United States citizens was possible because of AT&T’s crucial help while being involved in the Fairview program. This program is actually believed to be a key part in the surveillance activity.
The documents prove that, in 2011, AT&T gave NSA 1.1 billion records of phone calls every single day, in order to ramp up the operations before the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack that happened on September 11, 2001.
Furthermore, in 2012, AT&T helped NSA to wiretap the internet traffic in the United Nations. This was possible because of a secret court order and with the technical help AT&T offered.
In 2013, AT&T created surveillance equipment for 17 Internet hubs with NSA’s technology.
The documents that Snowden provided include a series of reports that show how the National Security Agency was able to spy on people’s activity on the internet and on their phones. The NSA is also believed to have tapped into the servers of some tech companies. Moreover, the agency was able to hack into the e-mails of US allies.
When the documents were revealed, tech companies responded saying that NSA’s mass spying efforts are harming their business interests.
Still, AT&T officials say that the company would never reveal any information without a court order, unless a person’s life depended on it. They believe that they should help track down numbers in case of a kidnapping, for example. Still, they deny the accusations. Meanwhile, the NSA officials refuse to make a remark regarding their collaboration with AT&T.
Even though it is not clear if the programs still work in the same way right now, it is obvious that the telecommunication companies have been a lot quieter lately.
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