Telecom giant AT&T Inc has played a bigger than previously thought role in helping the National Security Agency (NSA) spy on swathes of internet traffic, which included wiretapping all UN headquarters' communications, The New York Times has revealed.
The report is based on leaked documents, which date from 2003 to 2013 and were provided by whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The files describe the NSA's relationship with the telecommunications company as "highly collaborative," citing AT&T's "extreme willingness to help."
The N.S.A.'s top-secret budget in 2013 for the AT&T partnership was more than twice that of the next-largest such program, according to the documents. The company installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its Internet hubs on American soil, far more than its similarly sized competitor, Verizon. And its engineers were the first to try out new surveillance technologies invented by the eavesdropping agency.
A decades-long partnership has helped the NSA to accomplish a whole range of classified activities, including providing technical assistance to carry out a secret court order that enabled wiretapping of all internet communications at the headquarters of the United Nations, which is an AT&T customer.
President Barack Obama,signed on June 3 a law that regulates the activities of NSA.The legislation reforms the rules for the government to spy on US citezens and in the war against terrorism.
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