It would seem that the modern-day governments want to lay their hands on every bit of digital data, all on the name of national security. The U.S. government, for instance, has been backing NSA over programs such as PRISM and it has now transpired that U.S. has deals with foreign telecoms, which are critically helpful in conducting surveillance.
In order to extract surveillance data from telecoms based in areas other than U.S., the American government has devised a unique team. Called ‘Team Telecom’, this group comprises of a number of lawyers hailing from FBI, Department of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice.
This formidable group of lawyers essentially ensures that whenever U.S. needs any surveillance-related data from a foreign telecom, the company in question responds quickly. To further make sure of this, U.S. has ‘security agreements’ with a number of such telecoms – these agreements let the U.S. authorities to snoop into their data.
For instance, Global Crossing is among the international giants in the telecom arena. The company has a ‘Network Operations Center’ in the U.S. According to the security agreement between U.S. government and Global Crossing, this Network Operations Center can be visited by government officials on a 30-minute notice.
This essentially shows that even if a telecom company is not originally based in the U.S., agencies such as NSA and FBI will eventually coerce that particular company into becoming complicit in large-scale mass surveillance of users, violating their privacy rights.
Source: Washington Post