FBI Whines That Some ISPs Stand Up to Them

FBI Whines That Some ISPs Stand Up to Them
Tries to Shame Carriers to Expand Surveillance Powers
If anything, carriers have been too mindlessly helpful when it comes to letting the government spy on its citizens, whether it's offering intelligence agencies wholesale illegal access to their networks, or actually giving advice on how to break privacy and surveillance laws. So it's curious to see that FBI has been trying to collect examples of uncooperative ISPs as ammunition in their latest effort to expand spying powers.

An internal Homeland Security report obtained by the EFF and dissected by CNEThighlights the FBI's plan to gather this data, citing Cricket, MetroPCS, Comcast, and T-Mobile as companies that have impeded the FBI's goals in one way or another. While the FBI claims they had technical issues with carriers (which Cricket denies), the bigger issue appears to be that some ISPs are having problems with Homeland Security's overly-broad interpretation of wiretap and surveillance law:

Greg Lund, a spokesman for Cricket, told CNET today that "we review all incoming legal requests to determine what information is requested and whether disclosure of that information is lawfully permitted pursuant to the type of request submitted." If disclosure is legally permitted, he said, Cricket turns over the data, but "if not, we deny the request."...Homeland Security's response said its agents had encountered problems when interacting with some mobile and broadband companies -- including Comcast, MetroPCS, and T-Mobile -- though none of the delays or glitches were reported to have derailed a criminal investigation. Other delays appear to be due to disagreements that companies had with Homeland Security's interpretation of the law.


Keep in mind that the government's idea of a cooperative ISP is someone like AT&T, who not only gave the FBI advice on how to get around domestic spying law, but actually in some instances gleefully acted as intelligence analysts. AT&T has historically not only provided the FBI with information requested, but records show they turned over reams of unasked for data from people vaguely associated with surveillance targets just to be "helpful."

When that's the kind of cooperation the FBI has grown used to, there's little wonder they act aghast when a carrier actually decides to adhere to the law.

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