DEA and AT&T Get in on Data-Mining by Blue LLP


Posted on 3 Sep 2013


DEA and AT&T Get in on Data-Mining

In the most recent revelation about widespread government eavesdropping, today, the New York Times reported on a government program with AT&T that grants the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) what is essentially unfettered access to 26 years worth of phone records processed through the telecommunications giant.

In the most recent revelation about widespread government eavesdropping, today, the New York Times reported on a government program with AT&T that grants the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) what is essentially unfettered access to 26 years worth of phone records processed through the telecommunications giant.

The program is called "Hemisphere Project," and not only allows federal and local government agents to tap into phone records, but it also allows them to access information associated with billions of phone calls, regardless of whether the user is an AT&T customer.  Information is stored even if a call passes through AT&T’s systems.  As many as 4 billion phone calls are added to the database every day.

The program appears to be paid for by the DEA and White House drug policy office, and targets drug traffickers, particularly those who use “burner” cell phones that are used and quickly abandoned.  But, much like the criticism that has been mounted against similar government surveillance programs, the program’s use is not limited to drug interdiction.  According to the NY Times article, the program “is used in investigating a range of crimes, not just drug violations.”

To learn more information about the Hemisphere Project and its impact on federal drug investigations, access the NY Times article here.

Source:  The New York Times, “Drug Agents Use Vast Phone Trove, Eclipsing N.S.A.’s,” Scott Shane and Colin Moynihan

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