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By GCN Staff

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AT&T language tracks phone usage

Over the past decade or so, AT&T has been developing a programming language designed for sorting through hundreds of thousands of phone calls in order to find out who has been talking with whom, Wired News reported in a thoroughly-reported blog entry.

Although first developed for marketing, the language, a variant of C called Hancock, could have caught the interest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wired News speculates.

The language, written specifically for working with data from telephone and Internet switches, can be used to identify groups of people who communicate with one another frequently. It can also track the movements of cellular telephone users as they roam from town to town.

Hancock's tie to the FBI, or any other intelligence agency, seems dubious, at least based on the evidence provided by Wired News. The language doesn't seem to have made it beyond the AT&T lab, in fact.

Nonetheless, Hancock does seem like it could be useful in a number of wide-ranging surveillance tasks.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Nov 01, 2007 at 9:39 AM


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