Hancock, Mass Surveillance Programming Language From AT&T

Hancock is an AT&T programming language that allows the telecommunications giant to easily mine the information that flows into its corporate databases.

For example, the Hancock programming language can be used to easily crunch through tens of millions of phone records each night to create what AT&T calls "communities of interest." These are calling circles that can track not simply the people that you have called, but all the people that those people have called.

Hancock makes it easy to combine flows of information: programmers can readily combine calling card records, long distance calls and the physical movements of these persons of interest. How? By watching how their signal moves from one cell phone tower to another.

Apparently, the system was built in the late 1990's; some of the original Hancock researchers were awarded a patent in 2002. AT&T used it extensively to learn more about how its customers used the system. This is called "customer research" and it's what good companies do.

However, it turns out that the government is also asking AT&T (as well as other phone companies) to create "community of interest" datasets. Whether or not this is something that good governments do is currently being questioned.

At present, AT&T is defending itself in federal court from allegations that it installed, on behalf of the NSA, secret internet spying rooms in its domestic internet switching facilities.

Via AT&T Invents Programming Language for Mass Surveillance.

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