As any skilled technician (Systems Administrator, Systems Programmer) knows they have total control and access to the system and all levels of security (In most facilities, at least in all the ones I have worked at) This total access DOES give them the ability to do just about anything that someone else can do, usually it is needed so these highly skilled people can evaluate and debug the systems. From firsthand experience of working with a BIG Phone provider we know we collect data from phone companies thru a company’s “Raw Call Data” from the switches installed at company owned sites. In the case of cell phones it would data from cell towers passed thru to the central sites for processing. This data contains “Metadata”, this is usually data in highly compacted format that can contain; caller ID, caller’s ESN of a mobile number, calling number, GPS position of originating caller, roaming location, call duration, calling number GPS location when call is connected, call duration as well as many other items in this “Metadata”.
Phone companies process this “Raw Call Data” through various billing programs while preparing billing statements. This now becomes the company’s “Billing Record Data” that IS kept for year’s offline and is required for audits and legal access by law enforcement purposes.
We have known for years that phone companies have “Hubs” around the country where access has been granted to the federal government to install “Line filters & scanners” that scan ALL data that is going thru any hub for certain so called “Security Risk wording” this is nothing new and has been around now for years here in America. The thought that “Only” calls “Outside” America are looked at is crazy, all data is scanned and filtered by these hub locations in the network.
Now with the new home appliances that are “Smart Appliances” & connected to your home network that connects to the Internet it is possible that some appliances like the new smart TV’s that are voice and visually operated could be hacked into and remotely be turned into a surveillance device without your knowledge, also some smart phones can also be turned on remotely even if powered off and be used as a remote microphone or video monitor. Think about what we have today, smart phones that can access our devices at our homes while we are away, a good hacker can also access these devices and break your encryption if there is any.
Also if a “Sane” person thinks a little and thinks that his or her “Text” messages do not get filtered they would be in for a shock, that same data “SMS Data” passes thru all switches also!
Just because the large companies like Verizon, Google, Facebook are saying that they have “No Direct Links to NSA” DOES NOT MEAN THERE IS NOT A INDIRECT LINK! Remember this; the detail is in how these companies word the responses to avoid being caught in the web of misleading all of us and to forgo legal matters with confidential agreements made with this government and its agencies and bills that provide legal protection for them. Any response that includes “Authority “ in a response must be challenged by do you or your agency have the “ABILITY” because technically we know that systems people DO have the ability!
This is not made up information, talk to engineers who work on switches, talk to systems administrators; look at what Metadata has in its format.