New information about AT&T providing customer data to the National Security Agency (NSA) has been revealed in court documents. Evidence partially unsealed this week in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) class-action lawsuit against the telecoms giant shows that AT&T has set up a secret, secure room for the NSA in at least one facility. Here AT&T diverts customers' emails and other Internet communications in bulk for the NSA's inspection.
"Now the public can see firsthand the testimony of Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee who was brave enough to step forward and provide evidence of the company's illegal collaboration with the NSA," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "Today we have released some of the evidence supporting our allegation that AT&T has given the NSA direct access to its fiber-optic network, such that the NSA can read the email of anyone and everyone it chooses - all without a warrant or any court supervision and in clear violation of the law."
The Klein declaration and EFF's motion for a preliminary injunction against AT&T's ongoing illegal surveillance were filed in April under court seal. Last week, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker instructed AT&T to work with EFF to narrowly redact the documents and make them available to the public.
"We strongly believe in transparency and openness in judicial proceedings and that there is no proper basis for permanently sealing any of the information supporting our preliminary injunction papers," said Kurt Opsahl, EFF staff attorney. "In the interim, we are glad that as much as possible is released while the motions to unseal filed by media entities are pending."
EFF filed suit against AT&T in January, alleging the company has provided the NSA with secret, direct access to phone calls and emails going over its network. The suit further alleges that AT&T has been handing over communications logs detailing activities of millions of Americans.
In a hearing June 23 in San Francisco, a federal judge will consider separate motions by the U.S. government and AT&T to dismiss EFF's suit.