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Millions of Americans are having their phone records accessed by a secret surveillance program

This surveillance, affecting those who are part of AT&T's phone network, raises serious concerns about privacy rights and the 14th Amendment. 

Published: November 25, 2023 6:01pm

Updated: November 25, 2023 9:46pm

Millions of Americans who use AT&T’s phone network are having their phone calls monitored by a surveillance program called Data Analytical Services (DAS), which has had coordination with federal and local law enforcement agencies. 

According to a document obtained by WIRED, DAS has been secretly collecting and analyzing over one trillion domestic phone records within the U.S. each year.  

The program used to be called Hemisphere and is run by AT&T in coordination with different agencies, according to Fox News.

The program uses a technique known as chain analysis. This goes after those who have been in direct contact with a criminal suspect, and anyone else who has had communications with them. 

This program also allows law enforcement agencies to receive any data access in the records of any calls that use AT&T’s infrastructure. This information can include phone numbers, locations, dates and even the addresses of those subscribed. 

According to Fox, this surveillance raises serious concerns about privacy rights and the 14th Amendment. 

This program has reportedly been operating for more than ten years and has received millions of dollars from the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) under a program called HIDTA, or "high-intensity drug trafficking area." 

AT&T has refused to comment specifically on the program, only responding that it is required by law to comply with a lawful subpoena, according to the outlet.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden sent a letter last week to Attorney General Merrick Garland, urging him to investigate and review the program. “I have serious concerns about the legality of this surveillance program, and the materials provided by the DOJ contain troubling information that would justifiably outrage many Americans and other members of Congress,” Wyden wrote.

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