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(Fwd) BBC Online 2/10/99: "Global spy network revealed"

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To:             	cryptography@c2.net
Subject:        	BBC Online 2/10/99: "Global spy network revealed"
From:           	"Perry E. Metzger" <perry@piermont.com>
Date sent:      	03 Nov 1999 12:44:49 -0500

Thought this would be of interest -- it was a posting Dave made to the
"Interesting People" mailing list.

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Date: Wed, 03 Nov 1999 11:42:09 -0500
From: Dave Farber <farber@cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: IP: BBC Online 2/10/99: "Global spy network revealed"

>Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 16:03:52 +0000
>To: farber@cis.upenn.edu
>Global spy network revealed
>Listening in to your phone calls and reading your emails
>By Andrew Bomford of BBC Radio 4's PM programme
>Imagine a global spying network that can eavesdrop on every single
>phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet.
>It sounds like science fiction, but it's true.
>Two of the chief protagonists - Britain and America - officially deny
>its existence. But the BBC has confirmation from the Australian
>Government that such a network really does exist and politicians on
>both sides of the Atlantic are calling for an inquiry.
>On the North Yorkshire moors above Harrogate they can be seen for
>miles, but still they are shrouded in secrecy. Around 30 giant golf
>balls, known as radomes, rise from the US military base at Menwith
>Linked to the NSA
>Inside is the world's most sophisticated eavesdropping technology,
>capable of listening-in to satellites high above the earth.
>Facility is said to be capable of 2m intercepts per hour
>The base is linked directly to the headquarters of the US National
>Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Mead in Maryland, and it is also linked
>to a series of other listening posts scattered across the world, like
>Britain's own GCHQ.
>The power of the network, codenamed Echelon, is astounding.
>Every international telephone call, fax, e-mail, or radio
>transmission can be listened to by powerful computers capable of
>voice recognition. They home in on a long list of key words, or
>patterns of messages. They are looking for evidence of international
>crime, like terrorism.
>Open Oz
>The network is so secret that the British and American Governments
>refuse to admit that Echelon even exists. But another ally,
>Australia, has decided not to be so coy.
>The man who oversees Australia's security services, Inspector General
>of Intelligence and Security Bill Blick, has confirmed to the BBC
>that their Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) does form part of the
>"As you would expect there are a large amount of radio communications
>floating around in the atmosphere, and agencies such as DSD collect
>those communications in the interests of their national security", he
>Asked if they are then passed on to countries like Britain and
>America, he said: "They might be in certain circumstances."
>But the system is so widespread all sorts of private communications,
>often of a sensitive commercial nature, are hoovered up and analysed.
>Journalist Duncan Campbell has spent much of his life investigating
>Echelon. In a report commissioned by the European Parliament he
>produced evidence that the NSA snooped on phone calls from a French
>firm bidding for a contract in Brazil. They passed the information on
>to an American competitor, which won the contract.
>"There's no safeguards, no remedies, " he said, "There's nowhere you
>can go to say that they've been snooping on your international
>communications. Its a totally lawless world."
>Breaking the silence
>Both Britain and America deny allegations like this, though they
>refuse to comment further. But one former US army intelligence
>officer has broken the code of silence.
>Colonel Dan Smith told the BBC that while this is feasible, it is not
>official policy: "Technically they can scoop all this information up,
>sort through it, and find what it is that might be asked for," he
>said. "But there is no policy to do this specifically in response to
>a particular company's interests."
>Legislators on both sides of the Atlantic are beginning to sit up and
>take notice. Republican Congressman Bob Barr has persuaded congress
>to open hearings into these and other allegations.
>In December he is coming to Britain to raise awareness of the issue.
>In an interview with the BBC he accused the NSA of conducting a broad
>"dragnet" of communications, and "invading the privacy of American
>He is joined in his concerns by a small number of politicians In
>Britain. Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker has tabled a series of
>questions about Menwith Hill, but has been met with a wall of
>"There's no doubt it's being used as a listening centre," he said,
>"There's no doubt it's being used for US interests, and I'm not
>convinced that Britain's interests are being best served by this."

David Farber The Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Telecommunication
Systems University of Pennsylvania Home Page:
http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~farber Email: farber@cis.upenn.edu

Home: +1 610 274 8292; Cell and Office: +1 215 327 8756; Fax:  +1 408
490 2720

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