Friday, May 05, 2006

Government Intrigue in Internet Privacy Grows

Internet privacy is a hot topic of debate following the Bush administration’s policy of gaining access to phone conversations and email messages in the name of national security. ran a story on AT&T’s cooperation with the government, including details about secured rooms used by government spies to access private e-mail messages and monitor Internet traffic in a story by Kim Zetter. Zetter noted that no proof was available to confirm that the National Security Agency was using the room for spying. But interviews with company employees featured in the interviews appear to build a case for that theory. AT&T and the government declined to comment on the article.

Employees told that the room required retinal and fingerprint identification and that employees were informed by the company that the room was being used by a government agency.

A report in the revealed that the NSA was financing research into harvesting information that people post about themselves in social networks such as This data combined with banking details as well as retail and property records could be used to build comprehensive personal profiles of individuals.

The revelations in these publications give pause as to how information on seemingly innocuous social networks like MySpace is being used by the government. Is it specifically tied to the war on terror or is there a broader agenda? Companies need to ask themselves these questions and use these revelations to have a frank discussion in the business community and with the government about how information is being used and be informed of their rights. By doing so you can build a stronger and more secure business

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