The Intercept, the publication known for its groundbreaking reports, has come up with another revealing piece (via TechCrunch) about the National Security Agency. The report describes 8 AT&T data facilities that serve as hubs for NSA’s spying activities.
The eight facilities are located in major US cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, LA, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.
These centers act as “peering” facilities to route traffic from other networks onto AT&T’s network to maintain internet’s normal working.
But this also opens room for giving NSA direct access to all kinds of unencrypted data that flows on the network and raw data like emails, web browsing, social media that passes through.
By monitoring these “peering circuits,” NSA collects not only AT&T’s data but “all the data that’s interchanged between AT&T’s network and other companies.”
The first facility, located in lower Manhattan, as a part of the collaboration between NSA and the carrier was known to be in existence in 2017.
Apparently, these AT&T buildings run a surveillance operation code-named “FAIRVIEW” for NSA. This program involves tapping data from international telecommunications cables, routers, and switches.
The network provider is also a part of other surveillance programs like SAGUARO and XKEYSCORE run by the spying agency.
AT&T refers to these sites as “Service Node Routing Complexes,” or SNRCs – acronyms that are mentioned in documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden too.
However, when enquired for comment, AT&T spokesman neither confirmed or denied the company’s role in collaboration with the government to conduct electronic espionage.