RealTime IT News

Leaked Docs Claim AT&T Aided NSA

AT&T is getting it from all sides now.

In addition to allegations that it handed over customer calling records and e-mail data, it's now facing media reports that it is monitoring Internet traffic. But the phone giant said it is within the law.

"There has been a lot of speculation in the news media, Walt Sharp, a spokesman for AT&T, said in an e-mail statement to internetnews.com. "The fact is, AT&T does not give customer information to law enforcement authorities or government agencies without legal authorization."

Sharp added, "If and when AT&T is asked by government agencies for help, we do so strictly within the law and under the most stringent conditions. Beyond that, we can't comment on matters of national security."

Sharp's comments came in the wake of documents published by Wired News, and obtained from former AT&T technician Mark Klein. The documents purport to detail how the mother of all phone companies is monitoring Internet traffic.

Using information provided by Klein, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a class action lawsuit against AT&T accusing it of supplying telephone and Internet records to the National Security Agency (NSA) as part of its post 9/11 domestic spying program .

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker sealed the EFF's evidence and ordered the Internet advocacy group not to share the documents. But Walker rejected efforts by AT&T to gag Klein or to force the EFF to return the documents to AT&T.

AT&T claims Klein's information includes proprietary company information, according to the documents.

Filed on behalf of three California AT&T subscribers and AT&T customers nationwide, the EFF lawsuit is asking for $21,000 in damages for each customer.

The Department of Justice hopes to have the case dismissed on national security grounds. A ruling on that motion is expected on June 23.

Last week, BellSouth denied allegations made in a USA Today article that it cooperated with the NSA. The company has reportedly demanded a retraction by USA Today.

Verizon followed the next day with a denial of its own.