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How NSA Uses Private Companies to Spy On You - Verint and Verisign

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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 10:19 AM
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How NSA Uses Private Companies to Spy On You - Verint and Verisign
Edited on Fri May-26-06 10:52 AM by leveymg
NSA Scandal (Pt. 2): Verint NSA's Foreign Partner

This series on NSA contractor scandals details the activities of the private companies that have taken over domestic surveillance under the Bush Administration. One of the most important of these corporations is Vertint, an Israel-based electronic communications surveillance outfit, which in alliance with VeriSign, the operator of the .com, .net, and .edu registries, monitors most of the sites on the World Wide Web. If you're viewing this article on a .com, NETDISCOVERY -- the Internet surveillance system developed jointly by Verint and VeriSign -- is monitoring your on-line experience at this very moment.

In the last installment, we reported that the NSA similarly employs NeuStar, the top .us and .biz Internet domain registry as a conduit to monitor web-communications networks in the US and to monitor the cell phone traffic in as many as 210 countries worldwide. See, Pt. 1, NSA SCANDAL: NeuStar - Telcom Scapegoat or NSA Front Company?

MORE, below:

When Congress passed the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), all telephone networks operating within the United States were required by law to install equipment that would allow the FBI and other investigative agencies to tap your phone. At the time, that technology did not exist in the United States as an off-the-shelf product, but Comverse Infosys, a company headquartered in Israel, stepped into this market void with its well-developed telcom network surveillance systems.

By the year 2000, practically every broadband-capable phone system in the US and in many foreign countries were in the process of installing Comverse Infosys systems. Comverse Technology, Inc. is now also the leading vendor of commercially-available web-based surveillance equipment through its subsidiary, Verint. The company describes its products as capable of intercepting virtually all forms of network communications worldwide:

Verint Communications Interception Solutions

. . . Verint Communications Interception Solutions help extract the most important information from voice and data collected over virtually any type of network. This actionable intelligence helps organizations rapidly detect and address security threats and build evidence for legal prosecution.

Verint offers a comprehensive, integrated portfolio of interception, monitoring, and analytic solutions. Our solutions are ETSI and CALEA compliant and work with virtually any type of network, content, application, or service. And our worldwide presence positions us to address new challenges and technologies as they emerge, providing our customers with solutions that help them achieve their objectives.

The UK telecom trade publication, The Register gave a detailed description in 2003 of how Verints surveillance products work: modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=758

The RELIANT system acts as a government agency's big ear, collecting and managing intercepted voice, e-mail, fax, SMS, data, chat, and Web browsing -- all on a single platform. On the delivery side, STAR-GATE does the actual wiretapping, and is primarily marketed to telephone companies trying to comply with the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which requires telecommunications carriers to keep their networks wiretap friendly for the FBI. An ISP version of STAR-GATE lets Internet providers conduct lawful surveillance of their customers and send the intercepted data to law enforcement over private networks.

However, Verint developed another, even more massive interception system: NetDiscovery. In 2002, Verint partnered with VeriSign, the domain name registrar for all .com, .org., and edu sites, to install the NetDiscovery network traffic analyzer and diverter system mandated by FCC interpretation of CALEA. This arrangement was described as the foundation of the Wiretap Friendly Web by telecom industry writer Annalee Newitz:

VeriSign's NetDiscovery service allows carriers to outsource the processing of all court order requests simply by establishing what the company calls a "secure" connection to its servers. Raj Puri, VeriSign VP of Communications Services, said, "This is a natural extension of our services as a provider for multiple wireline and cable providers. We have the infrastructure in our network that providers need to be compliant ." And, he added, "We are involved with standards-making and the FCC. So we've got a full solution for providers."

In 2002, VeriSign partnered with a company called Verint on NetDiscovery. Verint markets devices like STAR-GATE and RELIANT, both of which are designed specifically to assist with the lawful interception of data from broadband providers as well as telecoms. As VeriSign goes full-bore into the CALEA compliance market, Verint stands to do well with this partnership.

And there's no doubt that the current furor over CALEA is bringing in new customers for companies like VeriSign, as well as its partners and competitors. "This FCC thing has heightened awareness. We have seen our sales activity increase over the past several months," VeriSign's Puri reported. Fiducianet's Warren has seen a similar trend. " has brought a lot of attention to this issue which helps our business," he said. "Carriers look at whether they're compliant and then they turn to vendors to get it done efficiently."

Since that 2004 article was published, Fiducianet was bought out by NeuStar. NeuStar attracted a furor a couple weeks ago when telcom clients ATT, Verizon & Bell South claimed they had avoided legal liability for the warrantless transfer of customer data to the NSA by having NeuStar actually sell the information. See, Pt. 1; also, see,

With NeuStar monitoring traffic in the .us and .biz domains along with much of the worlds cell phone traffic, and VeriSign using Verints NetDiscovery intercept system and its older STAR-GATE and RELIANT systems on telephone networks, NSA and its partners pretty much have all phones and cell phones tapped, and has a map and a portal into the entire Internet, including your computer and this web site.


Footnote 1. Based in Sophia Antipolis (France), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) is officially responsible for standardization of within Europe. These technologies include telecommunications, broadcasting and related areas such as intelligent transportation and medical electronics.


2006. Mark G. Levey

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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-26-06 10:38 AM
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1. Does anyone else RESENT the Israeli domination of spying and
Edited on Fri May-26-06 10:39 AM by higher class
politics over the United States of America and the deference paid to companies and countries who spy on us?

Isn't the entire Echelon premised on five countries sharing spying duties for each other then passing it to each other to avoid one country spying on itself, thus avoiding the law?

I am becoming more sick at heart with each day's news.

I started figurint out that control of us was as important as stealing from us. It's proven every day.

Kick. Recommend.
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