back to article Report: Foreign owners blocked T-Mobile, Verizon from NSA snoops

T-Mobile and Verizon were not issued court orders to hand over mobile data for their users because their part-ownership by non-US companies could have caused complications, according to an unnamed US official. The government source told The Wall Street Journal that T-Mobile, which is 74 per cent owned by German communications …

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FAIL

Polls

That last paragraph about polls is meaningless. If the US were run based solely on polls, we'd still have slavery.

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Re: Polls

The question was ridiculously loaded too: 'Do you consider stopping terrorism more important than some intrusions into your privacy', or almost that. They didn't ask something straight forward like 'Is it OK to monitor your mobile phone and your Internet activities and email to help prevent terrorism'.

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Re: Polls

And still we have, as far as I know, no real evidence, let alone proof, that the data slurp prevented any terrorist acts or shows promise of doing so in future.

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Re: Polls

Do you believe pornography should be blocked for an households, or only those with children?

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Go

Huh?

I thought VZ was the explicit recipient of the "must send all call metadata for the next 90 days" subpoena? So is VZ or is not VZ a party to all this?

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Re: Huh?

The 'give us all your data' order that was in the news was for Verizon Business Services, a separate branch of the parent company.

We don't know what other orders were but the sudden push to exclude 'some' companies just sounds fishy. I'm sure terrorists buy their phones based on the same wacky criteria any normal person uses (coverage, hardware options, etc...) I am certain terrorists don't pick providers based on a "jihad preferred plus plan".

Maybe they should though. Carriers can advertise 'plans designed for the way YOU jihad' and just round up anyone who signs up.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm, not quite sure what to believe here..

If the story is true, you could suspect the spooks where worried about it leaking that they were tapping everything that moved, but given the devious nature of this business, an alternative explanation is that this story is a plant to reassure those using data carriers with a US component that they will not be backdoored. Which is a complete lie, because they will (it won't be the first time).

So, I will remain very sceptical...

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could have caused complications

Like what? Spill the beans?

That should not be much of a problem now.

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Re: could have caused complications

Violation of EU data protection laws by an company owned and controlled from the EU.

In most of the western world, in all of the free world, it is still illegal for companies to hand over ALL the data on EVERYONE the way US-based companies do to the NSA.

I doubt even Tony Blair's draconian and totalitarian Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act was quite that draconian and totalitarian.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: could have caused complications

Violation of EU data protection laws by an company owned and controlled from the EU.

Given that Google has been getting away with that since the first day Gmail was brought online I think I'll wait before I give that any gravitas.

In most of the western world, in all of the free world, it is still illegal for companies to hand over ALL the data on EVERYONE the way US-based companies do to the NSA.

Really? You haven't been attention - even GOVERNMENTS do when staffed by idiots who cannot see the long term consequences of giving in to US blackmail. There is a still a large batch of lefties you can just tell about rich people avoiding tax and they will give it all - regardless of this being true or properly addressed in court. Those idiots would legalise US data theft if left alone. The neat thing with blackmailed governments is that they can write laws afterwards to justify it all (otherwise they'd have to jail themselves), and that neatly keeps the door open for the next time the US wants something. Most of them are also incredibly naive - the Swiss, for instance, should have known that giving in to the US in breach of their own laws would not have been the end of the data rape that was taking place, it was actually the beginning of a complete bypass of democracy, neatly damaging competition to Wall Street. That's why the tax agreement has been paused - some people have actually started to think again. Oh, speaking of Wall Street - did anyone notice how neatly they are no longer in the news now the US can screech about tax avoidance? It's worth keeping in mind that the current global malaise is not the result of tax scams - they are minuscule in value compared to what Wall Street did to create yet another crisis. Let's not lose sight of this (although they'd really, really want us to).

Has anyone noticed that this so-called terror and crime fighting stuff only ever goes one way? As far as I can tell, the 9/11 guys actually lived in the US, so the rest of the world should be getting flight data from the US. Doesn't happen. Delaware tax avoidance? No data (etc etc ad infinitum). The next time some asks you to bend over, at least be so intelligent to ask what YOU get out of it.

It starts with rights, not only the human ones but also national sovereignty and democracy (the latter being a mere marketing word in the US, not reality). The US is trampling them all over the planet. Whatever brings money, we'll fix up some laws or excuses later or start a war. They're not picky.

I doubt even Tony Blair's draconian and totalitarian Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act was quite that draconian and totalitarian.

That's only because he couldn't get away with more in one go without getting into trouble. There is only so much marketing you can throw at people - there aren't enough "days to publish bad news" to cover that.

I'll get my medicine now, thank you.

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Re: could have caused complications

@AC - Google is a company owned and operated from the EU? Wow, news to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: could have caused complications

@AC - Google is a company owned and operated from the EU? Wow, news to me.

As a matter of fact, it has EU offices (IMHO mainly to give the lobbyists a place to go to), but even a US company has to play by EU privacy laws although Google would really, really like to change that if it could get away with it. It has to try, because the alternative is problems in the +25 EU countries it's now being investigated in for exactly that: breach of EU privacy laws. They had the chance to head that one off, but blew it, so I hope they get fined to smithereens in every single country. Because they're worth it.

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Black Helicopters

How do you see where a black hole is?

To me the story wasn't that they served one carrier to deliver call records.

It's that they got the call records from all the other carriers without even being asked for the paperwork.

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Anonymous Coward

"Not that the US public seems to be prepared to shift their mobile provider in light of the snooping scandal, anyway. Recent numbers from the Pew pollsters show that a small majority of US users are fine with their data being tapped to "fight terrorism," although a majority want their emails private."

Well, the gov't cannot even acknowledged that this has helped terrorism at all. So if the gov't cannot show it has helped protect us, then clearly it hasn't.

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Americans are NOT being terrorized !

*who* are the terrorists we have this *war* on ?

can they exist if 99.99% of Americans have ZERO fear .. much less *terror* in going about their daily lives ?

yes indeed .. there are individuals and groups in the world .. even our own soil that have plans to cause mayhem and destruction .. our intelligence agencies need to FOCUS on those individuals and groups .. use their time investigating .. infiltrating and spying on those people .. NOT casting a wide net in violation of the 4th amendment

digital data is just representative of your personal effects .. your writings .. your freedom to travel without the government .. on any level needing to know .. unless they have probable cause that you are committing a crime

really .. I must ask .. what are the governments of the US and Europe afraid of ?.. that you must spy on the activities and word-thoughts of your Citizens ? .. for what reason are the state and federal governments in the USA so hell bent on disarming The People ?

the *war on terror* .. at least on the part of the US government .. is a straw man ruse .. Americans do NOT live in fear nor terror of anti-american groups on our soil .. there can not be terrorists without terror ..

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Unhappy

Re: Americans are NOT being terrorized !

I think you're overestimating the level of courage and self reliance extant in my average fellow countrymen. The common person is scared shitless of Muslims, even though most wouldn't know how to identify one without a sign around their neck. Go ask an average Joe Plumber and he'll tell you 'Muslims are brown, have big beards, wear turbans and suicide vests and listen to public radio.

Far too many people believe that terrorists are constantly planning attacks and executing them against us because 'they hate our freedom' and we are only kept safe by the Great Benevolent Government. Go read the Yahoo! comments under any political article and look at the roaring success of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter et al. The fear many people have is making those chucklefucks rich. Listen to the automated announcements at airports or read the highway signs telling you to 'Report Suspicious Behavior' and the billboards around DC asking 'Do You Have A Plan - Where Will Your Family Be'.

Terror is winning but I'm afraid it isn't the terrorists bringing the fear. It is a combination of ignorance and our own government propaganda machine that is scaring the people with what amounts to scary bedtime stories.

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Re: Americans are NOT being terrorized !

Terror is winning but I'm afraid it isn't the terrorists bringing the fear. It is a combination of ignorance and our own government propaganda machine that is scaring the people . . .

Eating away from the inside. That sounds like a cancer. My guess is that chemo won't be enough and it's going to require amputation.

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Re: Americans are NOT being terrorized !

Don's right. I live 60 miles north of the US border.

All the time they were protected from the Soviets and the Germans by an ocean, and a couple of dozen other countries that would be the first to fall, they could put on their brave fearless John Wayne acts.

But let them have a single terrorist incident on their own soil and they're totally freaked out cowards. (I'm speaking generally, there are lots of individual brave Americans, just none on Capitol Hill.)

I do admit it was one heck of a big terrorist incident, but it pales in comparison to the on-going decades of relentless terrorism, hundreds of incidents, some countries in Europe have had to live with.

The funny thing is Americans make fun of the French, calling them "surrender monkeys".

The Vichy French caved in in WWII because they were traumatized by WWI.

10,000,000 people died in WWI, mostly on French soil.

10,000,000 versus 2,900. What would be more traumatic?

And of course nothing is more dangerous than a coward with a gun, unless it is a coward with nukes.

The world is so messed up. The governments and companies we trusted, or at least I trusted, have been proven to have betrayed us.

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Re: Americans are NOT being terrorized !

Their pathological fear is destroying their nation and its economy.

And things that are bad for the USA are very bad for us here in Canada because we're 2 ends of the largest trading relationship in the world.

Canada needs a prosperous US.

Although I see our PM Harper was in London this week trying to get a free trade agreement with the EU. Sort of hedging our bets I guess. But no free trade agreement with the EU, Brazil, India, Japan or even China could compare with the profitability of such short trips.

Canada really really needs a prosperous US, which is a big part of why all this disturbs me so much.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Americans are NOT being terrorized !

I think you're overestimating the level of courage and self reliance extant in my average fellow countrymen. The common person is scared shitless of Muslims, even though most wouldn't know how to identify one without a sign around their neck

The US government found a neat trick to only keep the stupid people around that could be scared: they sent the brave ones abroad to fight some trumped up wars. They figured this one out during Vietnam. The few that come back are not a problem, because they are treated so disgracefully bad that they won't have much time for anything else but surviving. That's the thanks they get for risking their live for the country.(*)

(*) Yes, I make a distinction between those who take decisions and those who have to execute them.

/caustic

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Black Helicopters

Re: Americans are NOT being terrorized !

@0_Flybart_0

If you are an American, you are perhaps four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist or eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer.

I posted this a few days ago: Ssshhh! Don't let the cat out of the bag.

******The purpose of the "Wars on... whatever" is that there is no clearly defined enemy, and therefore no realistic prospect of ending them by "winning".

The main problem that the US had was when they "won" the Cold War - How could they continue to take over a quarter of their total tax revenue and pass it through the defence system (Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex") to concentrate vast profits into the hands of the very few, without upsetting their tax payers? Their defence spend is about 60% of the total raised by individual income taxes.

US defence spending (>$680 billion ) is about 40% of the world's total. The US spends >4x as much as China, 8x that of Russia and >11x that of Britain.******

So maybe you should spend less on the War on Terror; and more on earthed tinfoil hats and continual monitoring of your law enforcement officers?

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Re: Americans are NOT being terrorized !

We aren't allowed to monitor law enforcement, that's an invasion of their privacy.

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Re: Americans are NOT being terrorized !

The largest terrorist threat to the USA exists from within.

Timothy McVeigh types have a lot of sympathisers and it's not difficult to make a fertilizer bomb in rural areas (The recipe he used was one in the Govt-published farmers' handbook for blowing stumps, just scaled up.)

The USA regards anyone with secessionist views as a traitor and major threat to domestic security, instead of addressing the reasons why such views are held. Growing disillusionment with the federal government makes the federal agencies increasingly paranoid and scared, which results in attempts to curb dissent. Roll on the Stazi.

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Re: Americans are NOT being terrorized !

So that 'bend over for industry wallets' Harper was in London trying to get a free trade agreement with the EU? He was probably also trying to prevent the EU from banning the import of tar sands oil, which the EU should rightly be doing. But then the Chinese don't give a damn about the environment so they will buy it from Harper after it has been pumped from Athabaska to the west coast of B.C. When will the first tanker accident destroy the pacific north west coastline, like the Exxon Valdes did?

Harper worries me too. Isn't he also responsible for gagging government scientists and running some kind of "Department for the Filtering of Information"?

Canada is starting to sound like its government is turning my place of birth into a Belarus or ex East Germany Stasi state.

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It doesn't stop hackers

Personal data is shared amongst hackers in the underground 24/7 and netizens have no clue.

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Re: It doesn't stop hackers

Donut holes are not holes and the quack of a duck does not echo, but that's neither here or now.

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Pint

Regarding Sprint

This is interesting, particularly as it relates to Sprint's pending Softbank merger. I wonder if the month long nationwide service disruption that Sprint customers have experienced due to "Network Vision" upgrades (LTE) are really due to snooping equipment being installed on towers or in base stations. This might explain why Sprint's nationwide service disruptions have not been reported on in the news, despite the thousands of complaints on Sprint's Customer Support forums and Facebook Website. Service across my local area has become sporadic at best over the past month. It's never been that way before. Perhaps it will get better when the Softbank merger is complete. Sprint is due to turn all of it's Nextel Towers off at the end of June. Can't wait to see how that affects all of us Sprint customers, nationwide...

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FAIL

"I thought VZ was the explicit recipient of the "must send all call metadata for the next 90 days" subpoena? So is VZ or is not VZ a party to all this?"

Verizon is a party. Verizon Wireless is not Verizon, it is a seperate entity that is 55% owned by Verizon and 45% owned by Vodaphone.

Anyway, as near as I can tell, these activities are not even technically legal, the legal justifications made by NSA et. al to justify these illegal and unconstitutional activities are quite convoluted and nonsensical even by Patriot Act standards. Any provision that could possibly support these activities is also unconstitutional of course.

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