Telecommunications giants AT&T, which has long been among the companies at the center of programs linking government surveillance and the private sector, is refusing tell customers and shareholders the amount of private data it has been sharing with the NSA or other U.S. spy agencies.
Implicated during the Bush years for helping the NSA conduct its warrantless wiring tap program out of a switch room in one of its west coast offices, the company has again come under fire from investors and the general public in the wake of startling revelations about teleph one and digital surveillance programs made possible by leaked NSA documents released to the press by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Though other companies are expanding transparency by releasing periodic reports on the number and nature of requests received by the NSA, AT&T sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday explaining why it has decided to buck a request by a coalition of civil liberties group and shareholders to do the same.
As the Associated Press reports:
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In November, the New York TImes revealed that AT&T was receiving vast payments from the CIA in exchange for access to its trove of customer “metadata” all across the globe.
As Common Dreams reported at the time: