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Back on March 11th, I published this post: “NYT (Breaking) Snowden Docs: ‘Raw Take,’ Rampant Sharing of Domestic, ‘Unminimized’ Wiretap Content.” And, I’ve been covering this story for well over two years. Many others, much closer to this story than yours truly, have been discussing it in public for more than a decade. Yet, to this day, regrettably, there are far too many denialists in the public—and yes, even at Daily Kos--that refuse to acknowledge the inconvenient truth that bulk, warrantless, phone wiretapping, both domestic and foreign, is far more vast and intrusive than our worst “nightmare scenario,” and it’s all facilitated in real-time at “the flick of a switch,” no less.

A year ago, almost to the day, Ed Snowden noted to anyone in the world who was willing to listen: From his desk in Hawaii he could, “…wiretap anyone: you, a federal judge or the President of the United States.” And, still, far too many refused to believe it. (Of course, the fact that our government lied about it, many times over, didn’t/doesn’t help.)

But, now that this news has been bravely disclosed by the world’s second largest telco, Vodafone, over the past 24 hours––where it was just acknowledged that our worst “nightmare scenario” is, in fact, the reality for its own worldwide networks, as well as for the networks of many/most of its competitors—maybe people previously in denial will accept this inconvenient truth. (FYI: As a matter of basic and pertinent fact, Verizon Wireless, until the beginning of this year, was co-owned by Vodafone.)


Vodafone reveals existence of secret wires that
allow state surveillance

Juliette Garside
The Guardian
Thursday 5 June 2014

Wires allow agencies to listen to or record live conversations, in what privacy campaigners are calling a 'nightmare scenario'

Vodafone, one of the world's largest mobile phone groups, has revealed the existence of secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to all conversations on its networks, saying they are widely used in some of the 29 countries in which it operates in Europe and beyond.

The company has broken its silence on government surveillance in order to push back against the increasingly widespread use of phone and broadband networks to spy on citizens, and will publish its first Law Enforcement Disclosure Report on Friday. At 40,000 words, it is the most comprehensive survey yet of how governments monitor the conversations and whereabouts of their people...

...The company said wires had been connected directly to its network and those of other telecoms groups, allowing agencies to listen to or record live conversations and, in certain cases, track the whereabouts of a customer. Privacy campaigners said the revelations were a "nightmare scenario" that confirmed their worst fears on the extent of snooping…

…"For governments to access phone calls at the flick of a switch is unprecedented and terrifying," said the Liberty director, Shami Chakrabarti. "[Edward] Snowden revealed the internet was already treated as fair game. Bluster that all is well is wearing pretty thin – our analogue laws need a digital overhaul."

…The company, which owns mobile and fixed broadband networks, including the former Cable & Wireless business, has not named the countries involved because certain regimes could retaliate by imprisoning its staff.

Direct-access systems do not require warrants, and companies have no information about the identity or the number of customers targeted. Mass surveillance can happen on any telecoms network without agencies having to justify their intrusion to the companies involved.

Industry sources say that in some cases, the direct-access wire, or pipe, is essentially equipment in a locked room in a network's central data centre or in one of its local exchanges or "switches."…

I thought you might wish to read this next-to-last paragraph, again: “Direct-access systems do not require warrants, and companies have no information about the identity or the number of customers targeted. Mass surveillance can happen on any telecoms network without agencies having to justify their intrusion to the companies involved.”

Then there's the last 'graph in the blockquote, above, upon which I reported similarly, with regard to the specific details of domestic (U.S.) wiretapping in a post at DKos on April 28th, "Guardian, Wheeler Revisit 'Hemisphere': Massive, Secret U.S. Phone Dragnet Co-Funded by WH." Reiterating, last night’s Guardian article also noted, “Industry sources say that in some cases, the direct-access wire, or pipe, is essentially equipment in a locked room in a network's central data centre or in one of its local exchanges or ‘switches.’”

While we're just learning how Vodafone has moved so boldly to set an example to call for the end of this rampant, Orwellian intrusion by governments upon the privacy of telco customers, worldwide--and as I just reported it here last night--there's the fully captured U.S. government, being led from the top down, concluding efforts to expand surveillance of its citizens at an unprecedented clip!

Believe it, or not...


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