Level 3 Condemns ‘Factually Incorrect’ Reports About Government Surveillance

Level 3 Communications Inc. has come out swinging against a Washington Post report published last week. The newspaper said that Level 3 had taken on a 2003 networking security agreement that allowed unauthorized government surveillance when it bought Global Crossing in 2011.

On Thursday, Level 3 issued a statement condemning “reports … that are factually incorrect.”

The provider said the 2003 agreement between Global Crossing and “Team Telecom,” a group of U.S. agencies including the Defense Department and Homeland Security, never included an unauthorized surveillance provision. Level 3 also said the 2003 agreement was terminated by the 2011 transaction. While Level 3 signed a new deal with Team Telecom, the company says that one also contains no provisions for unauthorized surveillance; the document is available on the FCC website.

“Our 2011 network security agreement largely addresses the security of Level 3’s U.S.-based communications assets,” Level 3 said in its statement. “That agreement also requires us to comply with ‘Lawful U.S. Process,’ reiterating our obligations under applicable law.”

Level 3 did say it is “periodically compelled by government authorities to assist in their investigations” in the more than 55 countries where it operates, but that it takes “all reasonable steps to protect our customers’ privacy.”

The service provider’s rebuttal of the Washington Post article comes in the wake of the recent PRISM revelations.

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