- Room 641A
Room 641A is an intercept facility operated by
AT&Tfor the U.S. National Security Agency, beginning in 2003. Room 641A is located in the SBC Communicationsbuilding at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco, three floors of which were occupied by AT&T before SBC purchased AT&T. The room was referred to in internal AT&T documents as the "SG3 [Study Group 3] Secure Room." It is fed by fiber opticlines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbonetraffic and, therefore, presumably has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building.
The room measures about 24 by 48 feet (7 by 15 meters) and contains several racks of equipment, including a
NarusSTA 6400, a device designed to intercept and analyze Internet communications at very high speeds. [http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/05/70908 AT&T Whistle-Blower's Evidence] , Wired Magazine, May 17, 2006]
The existence of the room was revealed by a former AT&T technician,
Mark Klein, and is the subject of a 2006 class action lawsuitby the Electronic Frontier Foundationagainst AT&T. [http://www.eff.org/cases/att NSA Multi-District Litigation: Documents Relating to All Cases and Dismissed Cases] , Electronic Frontier Foundation, retrieved Feb 25, 2008] Klein claims he was told that similar black rooms are operated at other facilities around the country.
Room 641A and the controversies surrounding it were subjects of an episode of "Frontline," the current affairs documentary program on
PBS. It was originally broadcast on May 15 2007. It was also featured on PBS's NOW on March 14 2008.
Electronic Frontier Foundation(EFF) filed a class-action lawsuitagainst AT&Ton January 31, 2006, accusing the telecommunication company of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency(NSA) in its massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications. On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government's and AT&T's motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
An additional case by the EFF was created on September 18th, 2008. See
Jewel v. NSA.
Hepting v. AT&Tfor more information about the lawsuit
NSA warrantless surveillance controversy
* [http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/ Frontline episode Spying on the Home Front] May 15, 2007
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP2tKBtUpVg Technician Mark Klein discussing Room 641A on "Countdown", November 7th, 2007]
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