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Verizon and AT&T Join the 'Transparency Report' Club

timothy posted 1 year,9 hours | from the not-quite-the-same-as-the-invisible-men dept.

Verizon 37

wiredmikey writes "Telecommunications giants Verizon and AT&T both announced (separately) this week that they would join a growing list of tech and telecom sector companies in publishing a 'transparency report' about demands for information from law enforcement agencies. Verizon said the first report would come in early 2014, with updates being published semi-annually. AT&T said it would also release a semiannual report starting in early 2014 with information 'to the extent permitted by laws and regulations.' The transparency reports will include things such as the total number of law enforcement agency requests in criminal cases, subpoenas, court orders and warrants. However, telecom and tech firms are still barred from releasing data on national security requests from the FBI and U.S. intelligence services."

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can you see me now? (2)

turkeydance (1266624) | 1 year,8 hours | (#45757235)

kinda/sorta.

Re:can you see me now? (1)

davester666 (731373) | 1 year,2 hours | (#45758563)

Yeah. These are the guys who couldn't wait to turn over any data they had to the gov't, in exchange for healthy fee's for the data, and the odd favor like retroactive immunity from doing blatantly illegal things.

But now that they see more and more people voicing their concern against indiscriminate data capture by the gov't, they finally decide to jump on the freedom bus and say "See, we were with you the whole time."

"still barred from releasing data on national sec (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 hours | (#45757259)

So this is completely worthless, then.

Re: "still barred from releasing data on national (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 hours | (#45757351)

Yup. National Security Letters bar everyone involved from even acknowledging they exist. An order issued by a secret court, without any representation for the accused, that restrain free speech. Nothing unconstitutional about that.

Re: "still barred from releasing data on national (2)

BradMajors (995624) | 1 year,6 hours | (#45757765)

Yup. National Security Letters bar everyone involved from even acknowledging they exist. An order issued by a secret court, without any representation for the accused, that restrain free speech. Nothing unconstitutional about that.

Nope. No court involved, it is issued by a government agency without court oversight.

Re: "still barred from releasing data on national (4, Insightful)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | 1 year,8 hours | (#45757457)

It is not worthless. I for one am interested in non-NSA, non-FBI requests too. My local cops probably have more influence on me than the NSA anyways.

Re: "still barred from releasing data on national (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | 1 year,6 hours | (#45757753)

Based on the fight that Verizon put up, I'm not sure I'd trust the numbers they provide.

Re: "still barred from releasing data on national (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 hours | (#45757969)

you wont be able to see the numbers anyway, they are just going to release a pdf document that's all black

Re: "still barred from releasing data on national (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about a year ago | (#45760099)

you wont be able to see the numbers anyway, they are just going to release a pdf document that's all black

Ctri+a, Ctrl+c [slashdot.org]

Re: "still barred from releasing data on national (2)

swillden (191260) | 1 year,5 hours | (#45757955)

It is not worthless. I for one am interested in non-NSA, non-FBI requests too. My local cops probably have more influence on me than the NSA anyways.

Also, it's not true that they can't provide information about NSLs. Google negotiated permission to publish ranges of numbers, and with that precedent established it shouldn't be too hard for others to do the same.

Re: "still barred from releasing data on national (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 hours | (#45758059)

I would think from that post that maybe you should really think about going legit. Riding hard is bad for your health.

Re: "still barred from releasing data on national (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 hours | (#45758111)

Idiot with no knowledge of history: go read up on COINTELPRO and get back to us when you've wised up.

Wrong Focus (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | 1 year,8 hours | (#45757349)

You don't need to try and get the permission to report how often the government is getting the data. People and companies should be fighting for these activities to be stopped.

Re:Wrong Focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,8 hours | (#45757415)

If you really wanted to do that, then why wouldn't you do that? Instead you do this. It makes no sense.

Re:Wrong Focus (4, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | 1 year,7 hours | (#45757541)

It makes no sense.

It makes perfect sense. AT&T and Verzion don't give a rat's ass about their customers' privacy. They're only in this coalition so they can give the appearance of caring, and so they can publish the reports. Putting out a report like this focuses citizen anger at the government, and not at them for not taking any sort of actual action. They can continue to play the "we're just following orders" card.

The thing about AT&T/Verizon having such a huge swath of the telecom landscape is, while it really is bad for consumers, it also gives these companies the power to resist the government if they wanted. Lavabit gets the government on them and they're forced to fold up because they're a small operation used by the fringe of society. If AT&T actively ignored NSA letters the government isn't going to do much to them -- because they're AT&T and such a huge amount of communications (and by extension, the economy) is dependent on them being able to remain fully operational. That's what it means to be a "too big to fail" company.

Re:Wrong Focus (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | 1 year,7 hours | (#45757643)

Except the executives either have no balls to resist, or got paid off not to resist.

Re:Wrong Focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 hours | (#45758067)

Or...they offered all the info they've been collecting for years to the NSA to entrench themselves with the powers that be. Or maybe the NSA is actually working for them.

Re:Wrong Focus (2)

DontScotty (978874) | 1 year,7 hours | (#45757649)

"If AT&T actively ignored NSA letters the government isn't going to do much to them --"

Watch their Spectrum and Coverage area get "nationalized" until they have signal equivalent to Sprint or T-Mobile.

Or, perhaps getting broken apart Ma-Bell 1980's style? No more Cell Phone + Internet + TV + IP Phone for your Universe.... pretty sure they (AT&T) won't rock the boat, especially while they are still swimming in it.

Re:Wrong Focus (2)

kermidge (2221646) | 1 year,6 hours | (#45757673)

Good band-wagon PR move, costs little to make and issue the report, and the convenient smoke-screen of openness on the easy stuff while, as you point out, doing nothing on the more substantive intrusions. They got it made in the shade - consumer lock-in for their market share, bulk of business exempt from public utility oversight (we're entertainment, not communications....), exorbitant rates across the board for services and products, and comfortably in bed with both Hollywood and Washington. With a bit of care they're also too large to be bought. Nice work.

Re:Wrong Focus (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,5 hours | (#45758061)

No.

They will receive fines and spend tons of their investors money in litigation. Needlessly. It is the fiduciary responsibility of their management not to outright waste investor money on social goods (such as privacy, or fighting incorrect laws) unless they determine that strategy maximizes the value of the company (unfortunately, in the next quarter, not in the Long Run).

So tired of people who have a few phone lines expecting/demanding companies, funded by people who actually invested substantial amounts, act in bizarre fashion. Yes - these behemoths were granted monopolies, yes that is seriously problematic, yes there *should* be some sort of social responsibility attached in form of conduct regulations, no there isn't the former and it is not acceptable for a companies managers to bet investor funds on social goods (see caveat above).

END.

So What (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 hours | (#45757477)

ATT and Verizon were given impunity of any U.S.A., State, Local, and World law by George W. Bush!

The CEO of ATT and Verizon can drive their lemos down to southeast D.C., get out with loaded pistols, kill an African-American child, rape an African-American Male and beat up an African-American woman an walk known that the D.C. police and no one else will even question their activity.

ATT and Verizon are the New Age Nazi.

Just the way Obama likes it.

"Dat da way ... uh hu uh hu ... Dat da wa ... uh hu Obama lik it ... uh hu uh hu."

Re:So What (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 hours | (#45757519)

Yawn. This shit had been going on since the country was strung with telegraph wires. If you REALLY think it started with Bush Jr., then I have a bridge to sell you.

Re:So What (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45758897)

I think you missed taking some meds......

The real reason at&t and verizon are supportin (1)

voss (52565) | 1 year,7 hours | (#45757559)

It used to be cool but now there are so many wiretaps that its become a pain in the ass from an administrative and technical standpoint and a pr nightmare.

What about Room 641A? (4, Informative)

the_B0fh (208483) | 1 year,7 hours | (#45757635)

Re:What about Room 641A? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,6 hours | (#45757701)

That was used to prevent 9/11, so it's sacred ground, and after the PATRIOT Act was passed we granted retroactive immunity to the brave ISPs for their service.

Re:What about Room 641A? (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | about a year ago | (#45760919)

embrace, extend, extinguish

They can release the info if they really want (1)

bogaboga (793279) | 1 year,6 hours | (#45757703)

However, telecom and tech firms are still barred from releasing data on national security requests from the FBI and U.S. intelligence services."

How about "leaking it" Snowden style via some "contractor?" Heck, if it hapned to the NSA, it can surely happen to some big corporation. No?

Re:They can release the info if they really want (1)

Dorianny (1847922) | 1 year,6 hours | (#45757861)

However, telecom and tech firms are still barred from releasing data on national security requests from the FBI and U.S. intelligence services."

How about "leaking it" Snowden style via some "contractor?" Heck, if it hapned to the NSA, it can surely happen to some big corporation. No?

Fleeing the country might keep you safe from a government agency but there is nowhere in the world you can hide from a multi-national corporation.

Re:They can release the info if they really want (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 hours | (#45758441)

... hide from a multi-national corporation ...

It's been a meme on SlashDot that Google and other businesses don't have a SWAT team, unlike the US department of education. So muti-national corporations pay local police to enforce their thuggery. This may be expensive and not tax-deductible in affluent, industrialized countries.

Re:They can release the info if they really want (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45758915)

No? No.

This kind of information requires too many people within one of these companies to act in certain ways so that this info can be acquired. Been there, done that.

Once acquired, this info usually resides int he hands of lawyers, not "little people", because leaking it would damage a company's reputation.

The NSA got "caught out by a contractor" because the NSA internally was slow to deploy the proper controls and had poor internal controls on what they did attempt to secure. That NSA security attitude would have washed them out of the big business world by now.

The Transparency Club (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 hours | (#45757859)

Verizon and AT&T have joined The Transparency Club? I bet it won't be long before their customers start to hear "Are you tipping?" Be sure to bring lots of ones along. If the NSA also joins, I bet they'll do a lap dance for an Andy Jackson. Maybe even for free.

Suckers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 hour | (#45758669)

Retroactive immunity bitches! We gots it!

Hows that for transparent! We did the crime. AND got away with it. All nice and legal.

You and your 'rights' can go pound sand.

lol @ AT&T (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 hour | (#45758725)

Wtf are you guys doing here! Seriously?

You have to be joking..... (1)

rts008 (812749) | about a year ago | (#45758903)

How can they expect us to believe this crap?

Putting the word "transparency" in anything with a telecom bends the needle on my BS meter as it 'helicopters' off into the wild blue yonder.

Where was all of this 'transparency' stuff prior to Snowden's escapade?

We need ALL of the PATRIOT Act repealed now!

OK TRANSPARENT AT&T, tell us about ROOM 641A f (2)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a year ago | (#45759183)

So yer gonna let us know when Sheriff Brown's men come knockin' with bench warrants because Daisie Mae's been kitin' checks around town again. And when Agent Orange and Agent Pink ("pink? Why do I have to be pink??") from the Dee Eee Aye are trollin' emails trying to find Bobby Joe who made it big back East sellin' loco weed to the uptight Beltway folks. And Officer Green from the Eff Bee Eye who is stalkin' 'ol Abdul and thinkin' he is tryin' to build a bomb just 'cause his momma named him after his Arab Daddy and he bought all this extra fertilizer for his farm to share with the Bransons who want to keep farmin' but they're on Social Securitty 'an they can't afford none. Well that's real special.

Well shucks, why don't you tell us about ROOM 641A [wikipedia.org] and how many like it there are out there. You can Meet Me At Your Telecom Riser [youtube.com] where the fiber optics are split, and show us which circuits have been tapped to give the spooks access to full Internet and full-voice. And show us a map so we can see how domestic it is.

While you're at it, tell us when this stuff started to be installed too. Because we are coming to believe that the current President is merely a Puppet on a Chain and the spooks have some blackmail on him even worse than the Choom Gang. They say dance, he dances. Knowing when this domestic vacuum cleaner was turned on the citizens of the US would help us to discover who and what policies are responsible for this.

You're off Scott Free now, AT&T. For awhile you were quakin' in your boots as Hepting vs. AT&T [wikipedia.org] was rising through the courts, "in which the EFF alleges that AT&T permitted and assisted the National Security Agency (NSA) in unlawfully monitoring the communications of the United States, including AT&T customers, businesses and third parties whose communications were routed through AT&T's network, as well as voice over IP telephone calls routed via the Internet."

But right around the time Hepting vs. AT&T made it to the Ninth Circuit. And wouldn't you know, in July 2008 the Senate (I wonder what Choom Gang blackmail the spooks have on them!) decided it was a great time to pass the FISA Amendments Act [wikipedia.org] which is all about the tappin' of foreigners, all about keepin' the Republic safe, right? Well the Act also granted 'retroactive immunity' to telecomm employees who participate in un-Constitutional surveillance at the request of the government.

The Senate, and that Ninth Circuit Judge, and the Supreme Court (who refused the appeal) really got your ass out of the fire, AT&T. Because you were losing the case, after all. You were caught red-handed assisting spooks to connect their backbone slurp-taps on the domestic communications links between Americans, and no fancy lawyer could ever argue you did not know what was happening.

Well too bad that Congress sprinkled 'retroactive immunity' pixie dust on you. Your ultimate embarrassment in losing Hepting vs. AT&T would have been a small price to pay for blowing the lid off this turn-key Police State you are helping to build. Fortunately there are heroes like Snowden who have the balls to do it for you.

So AT&T, tell us about Room 641A. We don't give a flying fuck about law enforcement warrants.

And also, please shoot that male voice "I didn't get that. Did you say... my pickle is not working...?" stupid robot who answers for customer support. He's an abomination of microchips.

Thank you.

Thar be dragins in our midst. Slay them.
NSA and the Desolation of Smaug [slashdot.org]

Telcos should announce when the *don't* get NSLs (1)

systrace (865054) | about a year ago | (#45761647)

Suppose all the telephone companies and ISPs announce clearly the days/weeks/years when they *don't* get NSLs. Would they be breaking the terms of the NSLs then? Or do we know that they all get NSLs, and we just don't know how many, or more importantly, what they say.
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