I read a monthly computer security newsletter (he uses a Blog now, but still sends monthly summaries) by noted computer security author Bruce Schneier. One of the notes in this month's edition, which I have only skimmed so far, was a big winner for me.

I got into a heated argument a couple of years ago with a Special Agent at the FBI, who my uncle works with, with over government eavesdropping. I claimed that there was spy equipment installed at MCI Worldcom while I was there for government monitoring, and he did everything except tell me I was crazy. I think the FBI has to deal with a lot of "The Truth is Out There" conspiracy-nuts, and he was steadfast in his belief that it was illegal, and thus, impossible. That he thought so is really a positive reflection of his integrity; I still like him, even if he was completely wrong.

I am vindicated today.

Here (http://blog.wired.com/27BStroke6/att_klein_wired.pdf) is an article documenting a similar installation at AT&T to the one I remember from MCI. If it is fabricated, you have to admit it is well done. My only complaint is the author's targeting of the Bush administration; the MCI Worldcom installation was completed in the Clinton-era, and this whole thing has more to do with the NSA civil servants than the elected politicians.

Anyone who things they really understand the legality of all of this stuff is deluding themselves. The body of legislation by Congress than involves the telecommunications industry is scary, and I doubt anyone really understands it all; much of it is contradictory. It is very possible that none of this is illegal because of specially-crafted loopholes in legislation. Did you know that the U.S. Military gets to dictate what order phones are restored in an emergency, and that they have special authority to demand services from phone companies?

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sorrowmonkey

March 2017

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