I think it would be naive in the extreme to assume, as the author does in the first sentence, that the NSA doesn't have that AT&T database backed up on its server farms. Plus the complete databases of every other phone company and cable company and cell tower company and what have you in the USA. And Canada. And Britain. And most likely all of Europe and most of Asia. Either because they demanded it at gunpoint, they were given it by the local regime, or they stole it.
For at least six years, law enforcement officials working on a counternarcotics program have had routine access, using subpoenas, to an enormous AT&T database that contains the records of decades of Americans' phone calls — parallel to but covering a far longer time than the National Security Agency's hotly disputed collection of phone call logs. The Hemisphere Project, a partnership between federal and local drug officials and AT&T that has not previously been reported, involves an extremely close association between the government and the telecommunications giant.
The government pays AT&T to place its employees in drug-fighting units around the country. Those employees sit alongside Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local detectives and supply them with the phone data from as far back as 1987.
Note to email users, almost everything that runs on wires crosses Google's network at some point in its travels. And as Snowden revealed, everything Google, Microsoft and Apple know, the NSA knows.
Facebook, Twitter and Google have been caught snooping on messages sent across their networks, new research claims, prompting campaigners to express concerns over privacy.
The findings emerged from an experiment conducted following revelations by US security contractor Edward Snowden about government snooping on internet accounts.
Cyber-security company High-Tech Bridge set out to test the confidentiality of 50 of the biggest internet companies by using their systems to send a unique web address in private messages.
Experts at its Geneva HQ then waited to see which companies clicked on the website.
During the ten-day operation, six of the 50 companies tested were found to have opened the link.
Among the six were Facebook, Twitter, Google and discussion forum Formspring.
High-Tech Bridge chief executive Ilia Kolochenko said: 'We found they were clicking on links that should be known only to the sender and recipient.