ISP compliance < LEAs - tech and logistics [was: snfc21 sniffer docs]

Gadi Evron ge at
Tue May 23 10:39:26 UTC 2006

> Wired posted what are suppossedly the docs Mark Klein wrote 'bout the
> NSA sniffing project.  Interesting read...
> John

Indeed. To be honest, I am more interested in NANOG-related operational
issues involved, which I am not sure many here will be able to discuss in
case they had experience on the subject. So let us put privacy and legal
issues aside for the purpose of this discussion.

How does a service provider handle the requirement to meet a law
enforcement agency with their wiretapping needs? The logistics and
technology can be exerting, annoying and business-wise, even prohibiting.

As I just mentioned somewhere else, I should probably point out that if I
was a major ISP often asked to answer the call of law enforcement with
legal wiretaps, this could be very annoying as well as technologically
a killer to my network architecture.
Just sticking some hub somewhere in my network may not cut it, and will
certainly not cover all of the communication. What about different lines
and locations?

As a large provider, AT&T probably had to find better solutions to the
call of the law, or reply on the law's technology to not kill their

This indeed happened before. As some of you may remember, according to one
NANOGer at the FBI's Carnivore presentation a few years ago, "sticking"
just such a hub is what caused his network to break-down.

Creating a centralized wiretapping point under strict security may be just
the thing to both comply and save costs, not to mention staying on the

I don't see how that _by_itself_ is wrong of AT&T. There are other issues
here as well.

The Internet Infrastructure in a significant way sits in the US. We all
know that. Is it really a surprise to anyone that the NSA, which states it
listens to the Internet, is using a local resource such as that on US
soil? They would be crazy not to.

They rivals and enemies in other countries certainly won't think

There is the issue of separating domestic communication from the rest, but
that's just something they have to deal with and US citizens have to be
paranoid about. This whole situation will probably result in better
supervision/monitoring of activities rather than stopping any of them
(i.e. simply more people in-the-know of what the NSA is up to).

That said, I am not a US citizen nor up-to-date on the details of this
ATT/NSA issue or the privacy implications, and I am sure enough of the US
folks here are.


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