Bad Ronald fans alert: Ken Schultz hips us to a really bizarre Wired News story, in which AT&T is allowing the National Security Agency access to its customers' phone and email data. NSA, according to a retired AT&T communications technician, was able to build a "secret room" in the company's San Francisco switching center.
According to a statement released by [Mark] Klein's attorney, an NSA agent showed up at the San Francisco switching center in 2002 to interview a management-level technician for a special job. In January 2003, Klein observed a new room being built adjacent to the room housing AT&T's #4ESS switching equipment, which is responsible for routing long distance and international calls.
"I learned that the person whom the NSA interviewed for the secret job was the person working to install equipment in this room," Klein wrote. "The regular technician work force was not allowed in the room."
Klein's job eventually included connecting internet circuits to a splitting cabinet that led to the secret room. During the course of that work, he learned from a co-worker that similar cabinets were being installed in other cities, including Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego…
The secret room also included data-mining equipment called a Narus STA 6400, "known to be used particularly by government intelligence agencies because of its ability to sift through large amounts of data looking for preprogrammed targets," according to Klein's statement.
Whole story. Klein is cooperating with a lawsuit against AT&T by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Narus may sound like something Dr. Who has to fight, but one observer claims it also has some anti-VoIP potential. A few years back, Jeff Taylor described Lamar (!) Alexander's weird role in the battle between VoIP and traditional phone companies.
Experience plenty of secret rooms, at the Winchester Mystery House.