We are being spied on and we are forced to pay for it! Today we learn about yet another vast database on the American population, without over-sight, without transparency and without any idea of how they are using our information. Yes, we now learn that for at least 6 years, law enforcement agents have had access to an enormous AT&T database containing decades of your phone calls.
Decades of your phone calls.
Today, we’d like to introduce you to yet another partnership between federal and local agents and law enforcement – The Hemisphere Project.
The Project involves the telecommunications giant, AT&T, and had not previously been reported or discussed. It partly involves the government paying AT&T to place its employees in drug fighting units around the nation!
Indeed, the telecom employees sit right alongside the Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local detectives to supply them the phone data as far back as 1987!
As far back as 1987.
According to a New York training site for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, which includes federal and local investigators, AT&T employees are embedded in the program in three states.
Jameel Jaffer of the A.C.L.U. says a slide presentation on the Hemisphere Project raises “profound privacy concerns.”
This government has forgotten its place and the proper limits on their power! The Constitution is very clear and written with deep understanding into the nature of man. The government surveillance is out of control and costing billions to American tax payers!
Just think of it, everything you say, or tell your doctor, your child’s temperament (according to the teacher), your family social security numbers, your phone calls and your emails! Everything about you in a Federal database!
We can finally get a glimpse of how law enforcement might use data intelligence besides for national security! How will it be abused?
The grand scale and length of this data storage appears to be unparalleled by any other agency or data collection to date.
Under the Patriot Act, the N.S.A. collects stores and repurposes the data for nearly all calls in the United States, including phone numbers and time and duration of calls, for five years.
But it was never meant to spy on Americans! Congress needs to know that you understand your rights!
Hemisphere covers every call that passes through an AT&T switch. Not just the calls made by ATT clients - and it has these records going back 26 years!
What happens if it gets hacked, or mis-used! And don’t say it can’t happen because we already know it can and have proof in the other scandals, like the IRS and the D.E.A.
According to the Hemisphere training PowerPoint, there is something like four billion call records added to Hemisphere every day!
AND UNLIKE the N.S.A. database, the Hemisphere data includes information on the locations of callers.
In a breaking story by The New York Times, it was reported the training document for Hemisphere is unclassified but marked “Law enforcement sensitive,” in response to a series of public information requests to West Coast police agencies. All trainees are instructed to never refer to Hemisphere in any official document.
This has been carried out in great secrecy!
The Obama administration is said to have acknowledged the extraordinary scale of the Hemisphere database and the unusual embedding of AT&T employees in government drug units in three states.
The government’s response was that the project is useful in routinely finding criminals in investigations and used in criminal cases for decades and posed no novel privacy issues.
No privacy issues? Is this program outside the Constitution? They certainly are acting as if it is!
And, the feds used what they called “administrative subpoenas,” that is, those issued NOT BY A GRAND JURY OR A JUDGE BUT BY A FEDERAL AGENCY, IN THIS CASE IT’S THE D.E.A.
Spying on or “snooping” on American citizens is a definitive breach between the United States government and the citizens of America!
Oh, not to worry. Obama’s administration tells us that there is nothing to worry about because the data is stored by AT&T and not by the government, like it is with the NSA program!
Brian Fallon, a Justice Department spokesman, said in a statement that “subpoenaing drug dealers’ phone records is a bread-and-butter tactic in the course of criminal investigations.”
Fallon said the program was paid for by the D.E.A. and the White House’s National Drug Control Policy Office (ONDCP) but that the budgets and COST TO AMERICAN TAX PAYERS WAS NOT IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE!
THE GOVERNMENT IS USING OUR MONEY TO SPY ON US!
Officials also announced that, indeed, four AT&T employees are now working in what is called the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, which brings together D.E.A. and local investigators, two employees in the program’s Atlanta office and one employee each, in Houston and Los Angeles.
Why is the government keeping such incredible amounts of private data? And why is it so secret if there is nothing unconstitutional with it? The incredible secrecy of this program must be because the government knows how very, very hard it would be to justify this to you and me - or the courts!
The government is deep into our business and they have no good reason to be there!
We must force Congress to stop President Obama and his power-hungry “comrades” using unconstitutional assaults on your freedoms and guaranteed liberties!
Quite frankly, Verizon, AOL, AT&T, Google, T-Mobile, Sprint, FaceBook Skype and others are “co-conspirators” in this violation of your rights and freedoms as well!
Some activists have already filed a federal lawsuit claiming that a civilian intelligence analyst at an Army base near Tacoma infiltrated and spied on antiwar groups.
This is just an extension on the IRS intimidation!
Mark A. Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T, declined to answer many questions, including ones about what percentage of phone calls made in the United States were covered by Hemisphere, the size of the Hemisphere database, whether the AT&T employees working on Hemisphere had security clearances and whether the company has conducted any legal review of the program
But here is the kicker…the training highlights showed that it has been used in investigations in a wide-range of crimes, not just drug violations.