Posts Tagged ‘Data’
In this, our fifth annual Who Has Your Back report, we took the main principles of the prior reports and rolled them into a single category: Industry-Accepted Best Practices. We’ve also refined our expectations around providing users notice and added new categories to highlight other important transparency and user rights issues.
We designed this report to take the basic principles of Who Has Your Back up a notch and see which companies were still leading the pack. Already, our newest report has had a similar effect on the industry as a whole, encouraging companies large and small to strive for more when it comes to standing by their users. In the months since we first told the companies what this year’s criteria would be, we’ve seen significant improvement in company practices. And we hope—and expect—that over the next year, we’ll see even more.
Download the complete Who Has Your Back? 2015: Protecting Your Data From Government Requests report as a PDF.
AT&T says it isn’t required to disclose to shareholders what it does with customers’ communications data despite complaints that the telecom giant has been sharing and selling that information to federal intelligence agencies including the National Security Agency.
In a letter sent Thursday to the Securities and Exchange Commission, AT&T said it protects customer information and complies with government requests for records "only to the extent required by law."
AT&T’s letter was a response to a Nov. 20 shareholder revolt sparked by the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the ACLU of Northern California and others. The groups are demanding that AT&T and Verizon be more transparent about their dealings with the NSA.
Nicole Ozer of the ACLU says "it’s outrageous that AT&T is trying to block the shareholder proposal."
The National Security Agency’s collection of phone data from all of Verizon’s U.S. customers is just the “tip of the iceberg,” says a former NSA official who estimates the agency has data on as many as 20 trillion phone calls and emails by U.S. citizens.
William Binney, an award-winning mathematician and noted NSA whistleblower, says the collection dates back to when the super-secret agency began domestic surveillance after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I believe they’ve been collecting data about all domestic calls since October 2001,” said Mr. Binney, who worked at NSA for more than 30 years. “That’s more than a billion calls a day.”
He called his figures “back of the envelope” estimates, adding that they include emails as well as telephone calls.
Using analytical software, the NSA could use mobile phones’ metadata over time to paint a picture of where their users went, who they talked to and what their habits were, Mr. Wicker said.
“The metadata available is now so fine-grained that it reveals where we’re going, what we’re doing, what our preferences and beliefs might be and who our friends are,” he said.
- TRAPWIRE + PRISM:
- TrapWire works by collecting data from thousands of security cameras, then applying GPS tracking data and facial recognition data [PRISM]
- Secretive TrapWire companys affiliations revealed
- Facial recognition and GPS tracking: TrapWire company conducting even more surveillance
Federal law and rulings by federal courts have consistently held that metadata, including information about the location of mobile phones, is not covered by the warrant requirements of the U.S. Constitution.
“Unfortunately, technology and the opportunities it presents for surveillance have outpaced our understanding of the Fourth Amendment,” Mr. Wicker said, citing the constitutional ban on unlawful searches and seizures.
Mr. Binney said that, in any case, the NSA already is collecting the content of calls and emails, as well as metadata.
- Report: France operates PRISM-like spy network (miamiherald.com)