[A DEA and AT&T program to search call records of Americans (records that date back to 1987)]. Scott Shane and Colin Moynihan for the New York Times:
> The government pays AT&T to place its employees in drug-fighting units around the country. Those employees sit alongside [Drug Enforcement Administration] agents and local detectives and supply them with the phone data from as far back as 1987.
What’s happening is that administrative subpoenas (i.e. not from a court) are issued to AT&T directly and implanted AT&T employees search a 20+ year database of all calls passing through AT&T switches. This data is use to catch Americans and non-Americans alike who are suspected of committing crimes.
Now the important difference to the NSA here is that AT&T is storing the data, not the government. *Another* important difference is that the data goes back to 1987 and grows by 4 billion records a day — whereas the NSA only keeps data for 5 years.
Yet another government program to watch out for. I do wonder how communications like Skype/Facebook/Google Hangouts/FaceTime affect this type of tracking. ((Yeah, Skype is compromised, but by the NSA not DEA.)) That is, these services are essentially internet traffic so I have to wonder if the smarter criminal strategy is to move from burner phones to encrypted IP based communications…