The federal government has access to a massive database of 25 years of AT&T phone data, NBC News has confirmed, as part of a secret program in which phone company employees work alongside local and federal law enforcement agents to track the phone calls of suspected drug dealers.
As first reported by the New York Times, the Hemisphere Project is at least six years old and has access to the data from every call coming through an AT&T switchboard back to 1987. The pool grows by billions of calls a day, includes information on the location of callers, and is larger than the controversial database maintained by the NSA, which goes back five years.
HUFFINGTON POST – Technology Brief
The primary function of mobile carriers, and the reason we pay them oodles of money each month, is to provide wireless coverage for our cell phones. You expect your carrier to make sure your cell phone can make calls, send text messages, surf websites like The Huffington Post, and whatever else you do that requires a mobile connection.
It seems like a simple transaction, for both parties. However, only one side really has to hold up its end of the bargain, thanks to a sneaky provision buried in the fine print of thoseterms and conditions you probably aren’t reading. When you sign a two-year contract with any of the four largest carriers in the United States — Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile — you’re saying it’s okay if your carrier doesn’t actually provide any service, and that even if your cell phone cannot connect to the network where you need it most, you will still pay the agreed-upon amount each month and stay in your contract. [Full Quote]