Feeds

Verizon, BT, Vodafone, Level 3 'let NSA jack into Google, Yahoo! fiber'

Telcos cooperated with g-men in data slurp, claim sources

Boost IT visibility and business value

In October, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden claimed Uncle Sam's spies tapped into the optic-fiber cables linking the data centers of Google and Yahoo!

By intercepting this flow of information, agents were able to spy on folks' online activities on a massive scale. Google and Yahoo! insisted they did not hand over the keys to their private network links, leaving many to wonder how exactly the surveillance was carried out.

Today it's claimed the NSA pressured four optic-fiber providers into granting spies access to those sensitive data center connections.

Unnamed sources told the New York Times the NSA was allowed to reach into the digital arteries without Google or Yahoo! noticing, at least not initially.

Allegations of covert online surveillance have been strongly decried by Google and Yahoo!, which have taken steps to encrypt their network traffic to thwart government snooping.

Out of the telcos accused of opening up their connectivity links, network service provider Level 3 Communications is said to have been a particularly willing participant in the practice, the New York Times alleged. Level 3 did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

Communications providers Verizon Communications, BT Group and Vodafone – also named in the same NYT article – have previously maintained they are required to follow the law when government agents come knocking. In November, the trio were accused of handing Blighty's GCHQ access to vital undersea cabling carrying the public internet.

The NSA's flagship dragnet program PRISM, which can end up gathering information on perfectly innocent people, is facing a court fight from the Electronic Privacy Information Council (EPIC): that group wants the NSA to reveal the legal basis for operating the PRISM platform.

"Through this lawsuit, EPIC seeks to clarify which, if any, legal authority would permit such extensive domestic surveillance of personal activities," EPIC said. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.