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Thu Aug 22, 2013, 08:15 AM

Glimmerglass Intercepts Undersea Cable Traffic for Spy Agencies


Glimmerglass 2011 presentation on CyberSweep.

Glimmerglass Intercepts Undersea Cable Traffic for Spy Agencies
by Pratap Chatterjee, Special to CorpWatch
August 20th, 2013

Glimmerglass, a northern California company that sells optical fiber technology, offers government agencies a software product called “CyberSweep” to intercept signals on undersea cables. The company says their technology can analyze Gmail and Yahoo! Mail as well as social media like Facebook and Twitter to discover “actionable intelligence.”

Could this be the technology that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is using to tap global communications? The company says it counts several intelligence agencies among its customers but refuses to divulge details. One thing is certain - it is not the only company to offer such capabilities - so if such data mining is not already taking place, that day is not far off.

"Revolutions in communications technologies are usually followed by revolutions in collection capabilities," Jeffrey Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archives and the author of the definitive guide to the U.S. intelligence agencies, told CorpWatch.

The recent leaks by whistleblower Edward Snowden to the Guardian newspaper specifically suggest that the NSA is tapping undersea cables although no details on the specific technology have yet been published. Notably Snowden has revealed evidence that the NSA paid £15.5 million ($25 million) in 2009 to “radically” upgrade a listening station operated by its U.K. equivalent – the Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) in Bude, north Cornwall, England, where many of the cables surface.

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