Readers will be aware that for quite some time the NSA has been secretly been copying all sorts of telecomms traffic. One also sees reports that well before secret court orders became commonplace at least one telecomms firm happily cooperated with the construction of a duplicate electronic center to divert phone messages.
Two points: (1) Why did they cooperate?
(2) Who else may be in the tank?
Answers below the fold
The first answer is very easy. If you are a huge telecomm company, you have potential antitrust issues, AT&T breakup or not. If you do not cooperate, why, the Antitrust people may be interested, the IRS may want to do an audit....
The second answer should be obvious. If you are what we now call a too-big-to-fail bank or top-end credit card processor
"It would really be much easier, citizen, if you simply let us copy all of your bank's transactions. That way there can be no question whether you failed to report illegal transactions. Of course, we will still monitor for failing to report $10,000 transactions, and we will occasionally very gently rap someone's knuckles for failing to comply, but you will play along with us, and we will play along with you."
It is certainly highly plausible that all bank records are being lifted, especially from larger banks.