Feeds

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

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.