[LINK] US govt. secretly using AT&T phone call & location records back to 1987 - Hemisphere project

Robin Whittle rw at firstpr.com.au
Tue Sep 3 14:37:57 AEST 2013

Drug Agents Use Vast Phone Trove, Eclipsing N.S.A.’s
By SCOTT SHANE and COLIN MOYNIHAN September 1, 2013


  Hemisphere covers every call that passes through an AT&T switch
  — not just those made by AT&T customers — and includes calls
  dating back 26 years, . . .

  The program was started in 2007, according to the slides, and
  has been carried out in great secrecy.

 "All requestors are instructed to never refer to Hemisphere in
  any official document," one slide says. A search of the Nexis
  database found no reference to the program in news reports or
  Congressional hearings.

  The Obama administration acknowledged the extraordinary scale
  of the Hemisphere database and the unusual embedding of AT&T
  employees in government drug units in three states.

  But they said the project, which has proved especially useful
  in finding criminals who discard cellphones frequently to
  thwart government tracking, employed routine investigative
  procedures used in criminal cases for decades and posed no
  novel privacy issues.

  Crucially, they said, the phone data is stored by AT&T, and
  not by the government as in the N.S.A. program.

  Mr. Richman said the program at least touched on an
  unresolved Fourth Amendment question: whether mere
  government possession of huge amounts of private data, rather
  than its actual use, may trespass on the amendment’s requirement
  that searches be “reasonable.” Even though the data resides
  with AT&T, the deep interest and involvement of the government in
  its storage may raise constitutional issues, he said.

Karl Denninger (who used to run a large ISP and who wrote his own "blog"
and forum website software in C) argues that this is equivalent to
government seizure of the records and that using this evidence in court
cases (or I guess as part of an investigation which leads to a
prosecution) without disclosing its source amounts to perjury.


  - Robin

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