Meet the spooky tech companies getting rich by making NSA surveillance possible

Wildly profitable companies like Neustar, Subsentio, and Yaana do the feds' dirty work for them, slurping huge amounts of unconstitutionally requisitioned data out of telcos' and ISPs' data-centers in response to secret, sealed FISA warrants — some of them publicly traded, too, making them a perfect addition to the Gulag Wealth Fund.

Although some ISPs have wanted to fight tooth and nail, they have not had the money to hire a top-secret cleared attorney to argue their case. Instead, they have invoked their interpretation of the First Amendment — the right to free speech — to disclose that they have received a FISA warrant, despite the secrecy and gagging clauses that come with them.

Others, like Cbeyond, "haven't examined simply saying 'no' and challenging them," said the person with direct knowledge of the warrants served on the ISP.

"What we're doing is what the rest of the American public is doing," the person said. "We're trusting in some way that these [warrants] are being handled in a responsible fashion."

Because of its business clientele, higher management was "not thinking about civil liberties issues," noting that the company near-automatically approved all requests.

"We don't have a department designed to resist unwarranted government intrusions or to even figure out if they're unwarranted or not," the person said.

The onus of responsibility is with business customers it serves, Cbeyond believes — which the people argued that they likely themselves still do not have the resources to deal with such warrants. The ISP is instead focused on fighting "incessant and unrelenting regulatory attacks" from its larger corporate rivals, one of the people said.

Meet the shadowy tech brokers that deliver your data to the NSA [Zack Whittaker/Zdnet]

(via Ars Technica)

(Image: Money, 401kcalculator, CC-BY-SA)