Fwd: [Cryptography] "Spy Agencies Urge Caution on Phone Deal"

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Tue Sep 30 00:38:34 PDT 2014

Number portability and more... trivially redirected to anywhere
for MITM... courtesy Neustar.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jerry Leichter <leichter at lrw.com>
Date: Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 11:51 PM
Subject: [Cryptography] "Spy Agencies Urge Caution on Phone Deal"
To: Cryptography <cryptography at metzdowd.com>

Not directly crypto-related, but an example of the tangle of
relationships that drive surveillance:
reports on a backstage argument going on in Washington about a special
network/database - oddly never named in the article - that "rout[es]
millions of phone calls and text messages in the United States".
Apparently this was a system created back in the late 1990's to
implement number portability.  It's not clear from the article whether
it's a database of number-to-carrier mappings, or actually routes call
based on such a database.

A small Virginia company named Neustar created the system and has
managed it ever since.  Recently, the major carriers recommended to
the FCC that Neustar be replaced by Telcordia, an American subsidiary
of Ericsson, which allegedly can do the job more cheaply.  The
"intelligence community" has been pushed to leave the job in Neustar's
hands, claiming that letting a European company run the system would
leak important information about how US surveillance of the phone
networks is implemented.

Neustar, obviously no stranger to the Washington inside game, has
hired good ol' Michael Chertoff to represent them.

The bullshit and inside baseball and lobbying here runs so deep you
can't see bottom.  And underneath it all, another piece of the vast
tapping network we've built in the US in the last 12 or so years is
revealed, just a little bit.

                                                        -- Jerry

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