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AT&T a Willing Partner to NSA in Surveillance, Report Finds

NSA photo — An aerial view of the National Security Agency.

AT&T has been more eager than most telecommunication and technology companies to help the National Security Agency in its surveillance efforts.

Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed has not only been helping the U.S. spy agency for more than a decade, but has done so with “extreme willingness,” according to a joint report from the New York Times and ProPublica. In other words, according to the report, AT&T does not put itself out to protect customer privacy for the authorities.

AT&TAT&T was, in fact, the first company to forward e-mail metadata to the NSA, according to the report. The relationship began in 2003 and, in 2011, the company began providing call metadata too.

AT&T even aided the NSA with it surveillance efforts on the all of the Internet traffic at the United Nations’ New York City headquarters.

AT&T, in a statement to the media, maintained that it only provides information to the government when it is legally obligated to do so.

“We do not provide information to any investigating authorities without a court order or other mandatory process other than if a person’s life is in danger and time is of the essence,” AT&T said. “For example, in a kidnapping situation we could provide help tracking down called numbers to assist law enforcement.”

While other telecommunications companies, like Verizon, also co-operated with the NSA, AT&T was, by far, the most collaborative.

“The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon,” the report reads. “And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.”

The report indicated it is not known if the NSA and AT&T have the same relationship today.

To read the report in it entirety click here.

 

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.