Skip to main content

Judge's order forces FBI to reveal its surveillance methodology

The FBI has been forced under a Freedom of Information court directive to reveal new and exacting details about the IT systems it uses for tracing telephone calls and recording conversations during criminal, terrorism and espionage investigations.

In a raft of documents (opens in new tab)released late last week, the FBI is reported to have come a long way "since the days of alligator clips and reel-to-reel tape recorders," said one newswire report.

According to another newswire report, in hundreds of heavily censored pages, the FBI described in unprecedented detail a sophisticated surveillance system known as the DCSN (Digital Collection System Network).

The DCSN reportedly includes programs to record information about telephone calls, including the number called and the duration of the call made by surveillance targets.

The records are also said to show that the FBI uses an application called Digital Storm to record conversations for automated and human analysis.

Interestingly, in its files describing the operation of the call-tracing system, known as the DCS-3000, the FBI has acknowledged that rogue agents or spies represent the gravest threat.

The FBI was forced by a federal judge to give the files to the EFF(Electronic Frontier Foundation), the San Francisco-based civil liberties group, which requested them (opens in new tab)under the Freedom of Information Act early last year.

Whilst I'm a great supporter of the EFF, I can't help but feel that forcing the FBI to reveal how its DCS technology works is playing into the hands of terrorists. Or is just me being stupid?...