Feeds

FBI fights to protect ISPs that snoop on their customers

Refuses to name warrantless wiretap partners

High performance access to file storage

The FBI has finally come clean on the real reason it doesn't want to name phone and internet service providers that participate in a sweeping surveillance program that taps international communications without a warrant: Customers would get mad and dump or sue the providers.

This rare piece of honesty came in a recently filed court declaration (PDF) from a top FBI official arguing why the agency shouldn't have to supply the names in response to a Freedom of Information request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Specifically, these businesses would be substantially harmed if their customers knew that they were furnishing information to the FBI,” David M. Hardy wrote. “The stigma of working with the FBI would cause customers to cancel the companies' services and file civil actions to prevent further disclosure of subscriber information. Therefore, the FBI has properly withheld this information.”

Under recent changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, government intelligence officials received authority to tap American's international communications with little judicial oversight. The ACLU filed a lawsuit on constitutional grounds and later filed a FOIA request seeking additional details. Feds so far have released only a “few hundred pages of heavily redacted documents.”

Hardy's frankness came in justifying why the FBI shouldn't be required to supply any more information.

In his declaration, Hardy said names should also be kept confidential to prevent the service providers themselves from retaliating against the government.

“For instance, given that these companies would pay a high price if it were known that they were providing information about their customers to the FBI, it is likely that companies, though lacking grounds to do so, would nevertheless avail themselves of legal options to resist cooperation,” he wrote. “It is only with the understanding of complete confidentiality that full cooperation of such sources can be enlisted, and only through this confidence that these sources can be persuaded to continue to fully cooperate in providing valuable assistance in the future.”

More from the ACLU is here and here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.