Wednesday, August 23, 2006

World Wide Wiretap

Joe Cannon has a fascinating piece about regarding the recent deaths of two telecom experts, a Greek and an Italian, who had apparently uncovered secretly installed software in cell phones and in the controlling network and that this had apparently been done with full complicity of Vodafone and Ericsson, manufacturer of the phones on which the malware was discovered.

An early snippet should pique your attention to check out the whole piece:
Last month, Italian telecommunications security expert Adamo Bove either lept or was pushed from a freeway overpass; he left no note and had no history of depression. Last year (March, 2005), Greek telecommunications expert Costas Tsalikidis met with a similarly enigmatic end. Both had uncovered American attempts to eavesdrop on government officials, anti-war activists, and private businessmen.
The Vodaphone complicity sounds similar to that of US telecom companies like AT&T, which had allowed the installation of the NSA's own call routing equipment in various AT&T operations centers around the country, as revealed by AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein back in May. Though this effort appeared centered on the server side, i.e. slurping phone calls coming into the hub.

Phone manufacturer Ericsson's position in this appears to be an admission that the code is there, but that they told Vodaphone and that it was their decision whether Vodaphone use it or not. Of course, the question remains: what other companies have this "built-in feature" and are they using it?


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