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[P]
European Parliament recommends all Europeans use encryption and open source software

By jij in MLP
Fri May 25, 2001 at 05:44:15 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

A new European Parliament document confirms the existence of a secretive US-led communications surveillance network, known as Echelon. The working document describes the way that the network's intelligence agencies tap into satellite transmissions and undersea communications cables to spy on Europe.


Past evidence of Echelon is limited to media investigations and individual studies commissioned by the European Parliament. Its existence has never been officially acknowledged. Although it is not finalised, the document indicates that the report committee is moving towards heavy criticism of the surveillance system.

The document recommends that all European citizens should encrypt their email and steer clear of closed software. It recommends using open source software that can be checked for hidden backdoors - the source code behind most commercial software is kept a closely guarded secret.

This from a story at New Scientist.

It occurs to me that this could be viewed as a slap in the face to the US government for daring to spy in this way on EU nations' citizens, and large software companies such as Microsoft for not be more forthcoming about the internals of their software systems. What do you all think about it?

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European Parliament recommends all Europeans use encryption and open source software | 46 comments (41 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Sounds Familiar somehow (4.80 / 5) (#4)
by WinPimp2K on Thu May 24, 2001 at 06:04:05 PM EST

Gee, is this related to this article over on The Register?

Of course, the folks over at The Reg were pointing out that the European Parliament wants to set up their own version of Echelon. And don't forget that the UK has their nasty little law that requires you to turn over all your encryption keys on demand - with serious jail time if you then reveal that your encryption keys have been compromised.

And over at the BBC News website... (none / 0) (#5)
by kaemaril on Thu May 24, 2001 at 06:06:57 PM EST

To say nothing of the BBC's coverage of the same story, too.

Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
thats what I meant (none / 0) (#7)
by jij on Thu May 24, 2001 at 06:23:06 PM EST

It seems like more of a dig at US 'arrogance' than a real concern for EU citizens' privacy.

"people who thinks quotes are witty are fucking morons" - turmeric
[ Parent ]

Possibly. (none / 0) (#32)
by pallex on Fri May 25, 2001 at 10:40:59 AM EST

>Gee, is this related to this article over on The >Register?

Possibly - it may be related to similar stories on countless computer industry news sites.

I`m still waiting for RIP vs Euro Human Rights Act (especially the `right to privacy of communication` part). I`d love to see someone get prosecuted for `revealing compromised keys` by publishing a revoked key on a server.




[ Parent ]
Just for perspective (4.71 / 7) (#6)
by weirdling on Thu May 24, 2001 at 06:15:41 PM EST

That the US-UK network has been doing this sort of thing for a long time is known ever since Australia made a law that required that they admit it. This isn't really new; neither should it be seen as a strictly US problem, as the UK has long been involved in this. However, Echelon isn't nearly as bad as what Interpol wants, and in the US, anyway, no data gleaned from Echelon can be used in criminal prosecutions. I'd suggest European countries enact the same sort of barrier against their own spy capability.
That being said, whether Echelon is a good idea or not, it is being targeted because it is the biggest and most successful of its kind, not because it is the only one of its kind. I'm certain there are plenty of other countries engaged in large-scale elint operations.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Waco. (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by pallex on Fri May 25, 2001 at 10:37:43 AM EST

"no data gleaned from Echelon can be used in criminal prosecutions"

Criminal prosecutions arent as effective as just wading in with tanks and flamethrowers anyway.

[ Parent ]
This is stated...where? (none / 0) (#35)
by darthaggie on Fri May 25, 2001 at 01:59:23 PM EST

and in the US, anyway, no data gleaned from Echelon can be used in criminal prosecutions.

Question: what is the basis for this assertion? where is this written down?

If so, then while the Echelon data can't be entered into evidence, can it be used to focus an investigation?

I am BOFH. Resistance is futile. Your network will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

Focus possible... (none / 0) (#44)
by weirdling on Tue May 29, 2001 at 03:05:27 PM EST

Essentially, by law, no data may be gathered by the CIA on American citizens. I can't cite chapter and verse, and I'm sure they're ignoring it, but it means that to use it in court would be to admit to gathering illegally.
However, the 'illegal search and seizure' clause protects a citizen in a court case from having data not gathered under the auspices of a warrant 'specifically describing' what is intended to be gathered, so any data gotten from the Echelon system would fail, as it is neither specific nor gathered under the auspices of a warrant, therefore is not admissible in court.
That being said, technically, they are not even supposed to trade information, thanks to the 'church and state' separation of the CIA (foreign) and the FBI (domestic) set up during the cold war. These days, they work much more closely together, which isn't something I like. Anyway, I'm sure that they could surreptitiously send information to the FBI that would start or focus an investigation, and that it might even be done, but such might cause a trial judge to throw out a case, depending on his mood, if it came to light, because such spying is clearly a violation of civil rights.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Geh (3.88 / 9) (#10)
by trhurler on Thu May 24, 2001 at 07:43:07 PM EST

European Parliament makes irrelevant token gesture for PR reasons, blames all of world's evils on US, film at 11.

Seriously, who cares? We already know proprietary software sucks, and we already know governments spy, legally and otherwise. The only NEW thing here is "Rah rah EU boo US we rock yeah for us we kick ass!" and frankly, that's just pathetic. When the EU votes to ban its member states from participating in Echelon and similar activities, then I'll be interested; til then, I really want to know how many Europeans are gullible enough to think their governments aren't doing these things too. Especially if you're French, German, or British...

--
"Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, so why should we let them have ideas?" -- Josef Stalin

This isn't a moral issue - this is a practical one (none / 0) (#17)
by SIGFPE on Thu May 24, 2001 at 09:59:54 PM EST

til then, I really want to know how many Europeans are gullible enough to think their governments aren't doing these things too. Especially if you're French, German, or British...
I'm sure European governments and companies carry out espionage whenever they can get away with it. But the EU's claim isn't really a claim to moral superiority - it's an entirely rational move and completely consistent with any espionage EU members take part in. Everyone seems to be reading this stuff in the wrong way.

There's also another factor that makes the situation asymmetric with regards to the US and EU - the US is in a remarkably good position to carry out espionage because there are is significantly more US listening equipment in the EU than conversely.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]

I do. (5.00 / 3) (#22)
by StrontiumDog on Fri May 25, 2001 at 03:55:30 AM EST

I really want to know how many Europeans are gullible enough to think their governments aren't doing these things too

  • There is no EU organistation that monitors private electronic communication in the US. If you think there is, feel free to name it. An acronym will do. Like, NSA, or CIA. Or Echelon. Saying "Well there must be one" won't do.
  • Name the last EU electronic spyplane shot down in foreign waters.
  • Name the last EU diplomat kicked out of <insert country here> for spying.
  • When last did the US send a formal protest to the EU because of the EU's spying activitis? Or is the EU so good at it that the CIA and NSA don't notice a thing?
In short you're full of crap, trhurler, as usual, and are being a good little uncritical defensive Yankee Gubmint flunky. Keep up the good work!

[ Parent ]
Nice (none / 0) (#34)
by trhurler on Fri May 25, 2001 at 10:57:10 AM EST

If you pretend that someone said something he didn't say, you can make him look pretty damned stupid - assuming your audience is also stupid.

What I am telling you is, many EU member nations participate in Echelon and related programs. It is a multinational effort, to put it mildly.

It is true that insofar as I know, there is no US-targetting European sigint capability. However, that's not particularly interesting; Europe relied on the US for that sort of thing all the way through the Cold War, and so now simply does not possess the technology. Given time, I'm sure they'll correct that deficiency.

Name the last US spy plane shot down in foriegn waters. Oh, that's right, it's about thirty years ago, and it wasn't over water! Man, you Europe freaks can't keep anything straight. The flight you're thinking of, a few months ago, was in international waters according to every country on the planet and the UN, except for China and maybe one or two of its allies. It wasn't shot down, either - it was involved in a collision with a Chinese fighter that, according to survivors, was flying within three feet of the US aircraft at times!

Now, rather than talk about EU diplomats, how about diplomats from European countries. Want to put money on your bold claims then? Sure, no EU diplomats have been ejected from anywhere - EU diplomats, to the extent that there even are any, are currently representing an entity that most of the world regards as more of a strategic alliance than a nation, and most people treat them as such.

I'd find all these mistakes excusable if I hadn't used phrases like "their governments" to refer to the entities I was talking about doing the spying, and if there ever was a US spy plane shot down in territorial waters, and so on. As it is, I'll just quote this and then paraphrase.
In short you're full of crap, trhurler, as usual, and are being a good little uncritical defensive Yankee Gubmint flunky. Keep up the good work!
In short you're full of crap, StrontiumDog, as usual, and are being a good little hypersensitive whiny Eurotrash flunky. Keep up the good work!

--
"Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, so why should we let them have ideas?" -- Josef Stalin

[ Parent ]
taking the bait (none / 0) (#43)
by yannick on Mon May 28, 2001 at 04:38:46 AM EST

There is no EU organistation that monitors private electronic communication in the US. If you think there is, feel free to name it. An acronym will do. Like, NSA, or CIA. Or Echelon. Saying "Well there must be one" won't do.

The fact that we, the general public, haven't heard about it does not mean it does not exist. In any case, such monitoring apparatus would not fall under EU jurisdiction. It is more likely that the intelligence services of individual nations do the monitoring.

Name the last EU diplomat kicked out of <insert country here> for spying.

The European Union does not have diplomats, like the United States has diplomats, or Great Britain or France or Russia or China has diplomats. The European Union does not (yet) act as a single, unified nation with all the trappings and associated organs.

In short you're full of crap, trhurler, as usual, and are being a good little uncritical defensive Yankee Gubmint flunky. Keep up the good work!

You seem to have embraced the European view that Americans are vile, inferior pig-dogs. and have subscribed to the view that Europeans are oh so civilised and those damn Americans are backward cretins. Well you're not and they're not. Every nation makes mistakes. Get used to it.

I'm not American, but I am getting tired of all this baseless and pointless America-bashing.

Cheers,
Yannick
---
"Hello, World" 17 Errors, 31 Warnings...
[ Parent ]

Trust, and the Open Source model (3.62 / 8) (#11)
by Signal 11 on Thu May 24, 2001 at 08:11:06 PM EST

First, let me start with a condemnation of the EU policy. The EU advocating the use of open-sourced software as a way to 'safeguard privacy' is entirely a joke, and people who use that line are severely under-educated about the reality of day-to-day computer use amongst the typical computer user. Secondly, the EU should not be so quick to condemn Echelon, as it was similar measures that saved its ass from becoming part of the Third Reich. Remember your history, EUsians!

Echelon

Spying is common internationally. Intelligence gathering is your best defense against unplanned 'problems'. The CIA has agents in many countries simply to gather information. Unlike certain paranoid delusional members of the EU, I sincerely doubt that any active measures are taken against any European country. More likely our government simply wants a good understanding of the political climate and development free of the biases inherent with mass-media. And knowing how many nukes each country has is a good thing to know as well.

But don't kid yourself about the source of most intelligence - most of the information which is used in operations is gathered not from secret agents operating in the highest placed positions of power... but instead from articles printed in local newspapers and off satellite feeds. Echelon isn't jacked into some secretive network of bugs that tracks the every word of the House of Commons. It's more likely a distributed network of processing stations to take raw data downlinked from satellites and other publicly available sources and sent to a central archive if its declared relevant to current US policy and national security. This isn't the cold war - there aren't CIA agents in every government office, and bugs in every chair, wall, and table. Even if it was, anyone familiar with the KGB's history would quickly conclude that... in short... there just wasn't much that they got from their agents that they couldn't have gotten by tuning into the BBC broadcasts. As a humorous sidenote - the KGB didn't even have an analytical department during the cold war - they had no way of processing and using much of the information they gathered!. Their biggest successes were prior to the 1960's. *shrugs* But I digress!

The point is that the EU has far more to worry about from industrial espionage and terrorism being used to damage the economic infrastructure of the EU than the relatively benign interests of various three letter acronym'd agencies based in the United States. Oh, and incase you're wondering - although it's not unheard of, it's pretty damned rare for the CIA to forward intelligence on foreign countries to private corporations to be used to gain commercial advantage. This is in sharp contrast to France, which I understand is rather open about its own industrial espionage against US-based companies, and is the principal proponent of anti-US sentiments wrt intelligence operations.

Open Source

Even though the source is open, most people have neither the skill nor time to evaluate the code to check for backdoors. There are several documented cases of open source software being subverted and backdoors installed. Most were caught because of the obscenely blatant nature of the hacks. As any programmer will tell you, it's easy to add a simple buffer overflow somewhere which could go undetected for years, providing a convenient backdoor to any who know of it. Closed source software has plenty of quality issues, but don't kid yourself - open source suffers from the same problems. Why? Because the same people who work for 'closed source' companies also write open source. Just don't forget that...

Now, if you want my advice on solving the 'backdoor' problem in commercial software (and simultaniously open-source software), what we need is an organization similar to the UL which has full access to the sources and will certify that the code has met or exceeded basic standards, such as those for privacy and security.

Such an organization could be largely free of biases by having a fee-based model - to have your software evaluated, you pay up front, and then you wait. Regardless of the outcome, they get the money. Thus, there is no bias - and such an organization would be based on reputation, so if they wanted those fees to keep coming in, they'd best do good work! Just like the UL.

In summary - don't fear Echelon, fear large corporations exerting influences on the legislative bodies and/or damaging the economic infrastructure of countries that they are a member of, and form an oversight committee to deal with 'privacy' and 'security' issues wrt consumer software.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

Source review (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by caine on Thu May 24, 2001 at 09:08:08 PM EST

First of all let me say, that the reference to WWII was pretty unecessary, and totally irrelevant. It seemed like it was mostly there to provoke (which you succeded with).

I'm not so sure about what information any espionage actually gathers, but since the only information I have on the subject is from movies I refrain from commenting. Actually I would think that anybody that do have any clue, probably wouldn't write about it.

I fully agree that Open Source isn't any cure-all for backdoors, which many claims. As you say, a skillfull coder can easily slip in a backdoor. But I don't think that a central review organization would help much either. Mostly because alot of the software people run are free, nag or shareware, which probably doesn't have time, will or resources to subject to any review. And people would still use them, despite that they haven't gone through review. Just look at how many blatantly ignore whatever text are in dialogs.

In summary, I fear Echelon because I fear big corporations who have a far too large a grip over the US goverment. And I don't see it changing any time soon.

--

[ Parent ]

Reply & open source commentary (none / 0) (#24)
by Signal 11 on Fri May 25, 2001 at 08:52:41 AM EST

First of all let me say, that the reference to WWII was pretty unecessary, and totally irrelevant.

No, it is completely relevant - the EU can't claim that "spying is bad" when it doesn't directly benefit them while simultaniously staying mute when it does. And if you're aware of the history between European and US intelligence, you would know that they cooperated exceptionally closely during WWII - the Manhattan project comes to mind, but also on COLOSSUS (sp?). To this day, US and British intelligence are very close - Britain is even part of Echelon (Meredith Hill). It's ludicrious for the EU to unilaterally say that Echelon is bad and 'shame on the US', when several of its members continue to benefit from it today in the same fashion as they did back then. I dropped the WWII reference in to demonstrate the long history of cooperation between them.

Actually I would think that anybody that do have any clue, probably wouldn't write about it.

Please read The Sword and the Shield: The Secret History of the KGB, also known as the Mitrokhin files. It is fairly exhaustive and covers most major KGB operations from the 1900's until about the mid 80's.

Mostly because alot of the software people run are free, nag or shareware, which probably doesn't have time, will or resources to subject to any review.

I can't be responsible for people's bad habits. Your argument is similar to saying we shouldn't be providing condoms because people can opt not to use them! This is obviously true, however the more software is certified and used (ie, the more people that practice safe hex), the better off the state of the world will be overall.

In summary, I fear Echelon because I fear big corporations who have a far too large a grip over the US goverment.

The government is a collection of thousands of organizations, all with different goals, politics, and focus. Many times, there is overlap, or where one group is busily undoing the work of another group. There are few corporations with the resources to sufficiently penetrate all of those organizations. Even if they could - why would they?

If Echelon was being used by businesses for commercial gain, it would have been revealed by now. Commercial interests are not known for their tactifulness or patience - and business intelligence is very much time-sensitive.

These conspiracy theories about Echelon which have been entertained by you and many other K5ers are counter-productive and obscure real understanding of such projects. If you're into conspiracy theories, read The Illuminatus!, otherwise, read The Sword and the Shield and similar books and enlighten yourself.

There is no conspiracy.
Anywhere.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Actually only one member benefits... (none / 0) (#26)
by nobbystyles on Fri May 25, 2001 at 09:44:58 AM EST

From Echelon and that's the UK. Fairly atypical EU member with its extremely close relationship with the US in intelligence and defense matters. Don't think the French benefit from it all rather than the reverse.

I can see why the EU is getting upset about it. The US and the UK have a elint network that intercepts a majority of Intra-EU communications. It gives UK and US the upper hand in political, trade and commercial negotiations. Yet the UK and US are supposed to be close allies of the other EU countries....

[ Parent ]
Nah, just France with a bee in its bonnet (none / 0) (#28)
by Signal 11 on Fri May 25, 2001 at 10:01:19 AM EST

From Echelon and that's the UK.

Actually, more than one member benefits.

I can see why the EU is getting upset about it.

I can't. EU member countries aren't really terribly upset by it - just France, which is amusing when you consider it is France that is the most active in economic intelligence being passed from its own intelligence community to its businesses. In the United States, such activity is (for the most part) illegal.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Spying (none / 0) (#27)
by caine on Fri May 25, 2001 at 09:57:10 AM EST

Echelon

I reiterate, I think Echelon has very little similarities with WW2 spying. There is in my book, a HUGE difference between spying on a select few and just spying "in general" invading privacy as you go. I'm also aware that the UK closely works with the US, and I don't like that, but as it happens, the EU consists of more than the UK. Any cooperation in the past has only been with very few of the countries in EU, and even against some of the others, so no I don't think that shows any old history.

The Sword and the Shield

Seems like an interesting book, even though I think there's some interesting "but":s in it. Anyhow, this kind of revelation is highly unusual, and he wasn't actually spying, just an archivist. Additionally what I meant wasn't so much books, as the probability that a NSA employee or anyone else with a clue would be discussing spying on kuro5hin or similar places.

Source review

Well if people doesn't care if things are reviewed, why should the companies? Then it would only be some large, high-profile corporations (Microsoft for example) that wanted to prove they're backdoor free. That doesn't really solve anything. If only 10% of the software that runs on a normal computer is reviewed, what then is the point for the average user? What I could see though, is something like Download.com or Tucows.com, checking (through some independent organization) the source, so that they could guarantee that all downloads from them would be safe. That would mean even most of the shareware could be reviewed. And your example was little odd, a better comparision would have been to say that people couldn't afford condoms. Most shareware writers don't have the money to subject to any review.

Conspiracy

Agreed, I don't think there's any conspiracy, I think it's bad enough without them. I just don't like having some goverment, which I have no control over and that cares more about corporations than people, having the ability to spy on all citizens in other countries. I don't care if they do "classic" spying, but that doesn't seem to be the purpose of Echelon, it's more of a dragnet. "Let's just drag through Europe and see if we can get anything juicy". And that I don't like.

--

[ Parent ]

HBO lovin' average people v. big brother (none / 0) (#33)
by Signal 11 on Fri May 25, 2001 at 10:41:51 AM EST

I reiterate, I think Echelon has very little similarities with WW2 spying.

WWII: Colossis project, a specialized computer designed to assist in SIGINT operations by decrypting german ciphers

Echelon: a specialized network designed to assist in SIGINT operations and decrypt ciphers worldwide.

Nope, no similiarities there!

difference between spying on a select few and just spying "in general" invading privacy as you go.

Why would they waste what exceptionally limited resources they have on finding out that you have hemerroids this week and your friend borrowed $20 bucks from you to go out to the bar and he can't pay you back right away? They're not using a global, international spy network to discover that when it would be far easier just to phone your mother!

Anyhow, this kind of revelation is highly unusual, and he wasn't actually spying, just an archivist

I see. Just like all the other people who defected with top secret documents that they had stored up over the years? They were just 'archiving' too. Pray tell what they were doing if not 'spying'.

as the probability that a NSA employee or anyone else with a clue would be discussing spying on kuro5hin or similar places.

I don't see why not. They can, and do, discuss a foreign policy and things which have been declassified. They're not total mutes you know - they're humans. They just happen to have taken an oath not to reveal some information... for now. Even top secret information has a time limit before it is declassified, usually. Atleast in the United States.

If only 10% of the software that runs on a normal computer is reviewed, what then is the point for the average user?

If that 10% of the code is the only 'priveledged' code on the system, then that's all that needs to be reviewed. :^)

And your example was little odd, a better comparision would have been to say that people couldn't afford condoms. Most shareware writers don't have the money to subject to any review.

Many people can't afford condoms today. There are still quite a few unplanned pregnancies in this country. That aside, it's not a pancea, but it is a superior solution to 'just trust open source - and don't trust closed source'.

which I have no control over and that cares more about corporations than people, having the ability to spy on all citizens in other countries.

Yes. That's what they're doing... rather than spending the limited resources they have on building B2 bombers and getting diplomatic ciphers, they're watching the average american as they view HBO every night. Yeeees.... all the governments of the world, in fact, are doing this right now.

"Let's just drag through Europe and see if we can get anything juicy". And that I don't like.

Love it. Hate it. But atleast be realistic about it, please.


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Average Joe's hemerroids(sp?) (none / 0) (#36)
by caine on Fri May 25, 2001 at 02:32:08 PM EST

Echelon: a specialized network designed to assist in SIGINT operations and decrypt ciphers worldwide.

The thing is that Echelons primary purpose is data collection, not decryption.

Nope, no similiarities there!

Quite correct :)

Why would they waste what exceptionally limited resources they have on finding out that you have hemerroids this week and your friend borrowed $20 bucks from you to go out to the bar and he can't pay you back right away? They're not using a global, international spy network to discover that when it would be far easier just to phone your mother!

That's totally besides the point. I don't care what data they care about, I care about which data I care about. And I don't want people I don't know, to know what I'm doing, no matter how little they care about my doings. And secondly as The Sword and the Shield so nicely proves it's enough with one rotten egg in the organisation for her/him to be able to run off with my information, and blackmail me or whatever. There should never be an oppurtunity for this.

If that 10% of the code is the only 'priveledged' code on the system, then that's all that needs to be reviewed. :^)

Point taken. In a well designed system this would be true, but most systems are not. So when can we see the Signal11OS? =)

Many people can't afford condoms today. There are still quite a few unplanned pregnancies in this country. That aside, it's not a pancea, but it is a superior solution to 'just trust open source - and don't trust closed source'.

Uhm..I'm well aware of that problem? That's why I said it was a better example. But you still haven't face my original statement? That share/freeware authors can't afford any reviews. But still, as said above, with a good system this shouldn't matter.

they're watching the average american as they view HBO every night

As stated above, I don't care if they do it or not, I care if they have the capability or not.

Love it. Hate it. But atleast be realistic about it, please.

Err..jaha? =)

--

[ Parent ]

*sians (5.00 / 3) (#16)
by delmoi on Thu May 24, 2001 at 09:56:02 PM EST

Secondly, the EU should not be so quick to condemn Echelon, as it was similar measures that saved its ass from becoming part of the Third Reich. Remember your history, EUsians!

Is everyone going to be "*sians" in this new PC world of ours?

  • Asians
  • Usians
  • Eusians
Perhaps Africa can confederate into the African union, and we can call them all Ausians... our would that be for people from Australia?

Or maybe we could just call people from the European union Europeans, just maybe...
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
EU Rope (none / 0) (#19)
by antizeus on Fri May 25, 2001 at 12:20:37 AM EST

Or maybe we could just call people from the European union Europeans, just maybe...
That sounds like it'll work. At least until we want to make a statement about those Europeans who are citizens of EU countries, excluding those European countries not in the EU. Then we might want to come up with another word. Probably not "Eusians" though, that's pretty goofy.
-- $SIGNATURE
[ Parent ]
Dumb and dumber ... (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by StrontiumDog on Fri May 25, 2001 at 03:36:21 AM EST

More likely our government simply wants a good understanding of the political climate and development free of the biases inherent with mass-media

is not an excuse to tap private media. It is judicially illegal in most countries as well. In addition, read your history. Echelon did not save the EU from the Third Reich. You must have been one of the many, many suckers fooled by Enigma the movie.

Oh, and incase you're wondering - although it's not unheard of, it's pretty damned rare for the CIA to forward intelligence on foreign countries to private corporations to be used to gain commercial advantage

Well that is pretty damn surprising, if true, and probably pretty damn wrong. Considering that the DoD outsources and contracts most defence contracts to commercial companies I would be very, very surprised if they did not provide any data either to these companies. After all that's the whole point of gathering data -- to use it. And since the DoD, CIA and NSA do not do any significant manufacturing themselves, you can guess the rest. In any case it can't be the morals -- the US govt has already shown itself willing to misuse high placed oficials to push corporate agenda's -- witness Madeleine Allbrights' efforts on behalf of Boeing, for instance.

In summary - don't fear Echelon, fear large corporations exerting influences on the legislative bodies

Campaign contributions excesses, anyone? Remind me how much George W. owes large corporations? A nine-figure number, perhaps? Given with no strings attached, because businesses are inherently philantropical, as we all know from experience?

[ Parent ]

Reality v. Fiction (none / 0) (#25)
by Signal 11 on Fri May 25, 2001 at 09:25:54 AM EST

is not an excuse to tap private media. It is judicially illegal in most countries as well.

It's a good thing I still have the receipt for my television from Best Buy!

Echelon did not save the EU from the Third Reich.

Quite correct. The EU didn't exist back then. However, the countries which are a part of that were, as are the organizations responsible for Echelon.

You must have been one of the many, many suckers fooled by Enigma the movie.

Yes, I guess so.

the DoD outsources and contracts most defence contracts to commercial companies I would be very, very surprised if they did not provide any data either to these companies

The fact that the DoD "outsources and contracts" with commercial companies does not automatically mean they are going to be given access to a top-secret network consisting of dozens of listening posts, terabytes of downlinked satellite intercepts, cipher books, diplomatic papers, access codes to spy satellites, and hundreds, of not thousands, of workers who sift through that data.

I work for a technology company at the moment. I don't have access to the payroll systems. I fail to understand why... afterall, don't I work for them?

After all that's the whole point of gathering data -- to use it.

The city of Coventry, during WWII, was sacrificed rather than reveal that the german ciphers had been cracked. Sometimes the point is not to use that information. As the NSA's cryptology museum homepage says: Cryptology is a secret world. Success, if it is to endure, must be hidden.

And since the DoD, CIA and NSA do not do any significant manufacturing themselves, you can guess the rest.

Just north of Minneapolis/St. Paul is a huge hundred-plus acre manufacturing plant owned by the US Government. In Nevada, there's a well-known airbase called "Area 51", and buried in the side of a mountain along the west coast is a military-industrial complex stretching several hundreds of feet underground and covering many, many, miles of terrain. The NSA has a not-so secret chip manufacturing plant for technology deemed 'too sensitive' to be produced commercially. In Washington (the state), there's a Navy shipyard. And in remote areas of the northwestern United States, there's dozens of small undocumented military complexes which house, amongst other things, nukes and biological weapontry.

Are you trying to tell me that with all of this, they need commercial support?

the US govt has already shown itself willing to misuse high placed oficials to push corporate agenda's

Maybe. But as I've indicated elsewhere, the US government is a collection of thousands of organizations. Simply because one of them, in a single instance, helped further 'corporate agenda' does not mean the whole of the US government is corrupt!


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

EUsians? WTF! (none / 0) (#30)
by WinPimp2K on Fri May 25, 2001 at 10:29:44 AM EST

Or, to put it more politely:

Eeew! Gross!

But for fun:

  • USians = folks from USA
  • UKanians = folks from UK
  • EUsians = folks from EU
  • IRAnians = members of the Irish Republican Army?
  • NZanians (pronounced "insane-ians") = folks from New Zealand
  • EUsians = folks from Estadios Unidas Mexicano (sp?) - wait a minute!
Surely I'm missing a few?

[ Parent ]
Stasi (none / 0) (#37)
by swr on Sun May 27, 2001 at 03:05:09 AM EST

Secondly, the EU should not be so quick to condemn Echelon, as it was similar measures that saved its ass from becoming part of the Third Reich. Remember your history, EUsians!

1- What they remember is the East German Stasi, who had thick files on everyone. Details right down to what they ate for breakfast. And that was all dead-tree filing; with modern technology all sorts of cross-referencing and data mining would be possible that wasn't in the first half of the previous century.

2- With the relative strengths of the various nations today, which is most likely to have a reasonable chance at taking over the world?



[ Parent ]
RE: Stasi (none / 0) (#39)
by Signal 11 on Sun May 27, 2001 at 11:23:02 AM EST

1- What they remember is the East German Stasi, who had thick files on everyone. Details right down to what they ate for breakfast. And that was all dead-tree filing; with modern technology all sorts of cross-referencing and data mining would be possible that wasn't in the first half of the previous century.

That somehow changes the social dynamic of it? Technology hasn't changed the goals and rationale behind these types of activities.

2- With the relative strengths of the various nations today, which is most likely to have a reasonable chance at taking over the world?

With the prevalence of nuclear weapons, is it likely anyone would even try?


--
Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.
[ Parent ]

Who'll save our ass from USians ? (none / 0) (#41)
by camadas on Sun May 27, 2001 at 08:40:38 PM EST

the EU should not be so quick to condemn Echelon, as it was similar measures that saved its ass from becoming part of the Third Reich. Remember your history, EUsians!
I rembember it, thank you, most of it even if it is bigger than what you tend to remember. Exactly who are they protecting me from and who protects me from them. Who is my enemy now that evil Russia is gone ? Is it China again, or one of the rogue countries (read think differently)? There is only one country who droped nuclear bombs over cities killing millions...

[ Parent ]
Try reading the document (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by SIGFPE on Mon May 28, 2001 at 12:22:35 AM EST

Secondly, the EU should not be so quick to condemn Echelon, as it was similar measures that saved its ass from becoming part of the Third Reich
(1) The document doesn't condemn Echelon
(2) The EU did not exist during WWII and as Germany is part of the EU your comment makes no sense at all
(3) Industrial espionage did not play an important part during WWII. Industrial espionage is generally not an important military activity.
(4) Whay not read the EU document so that you have some clue about what you are talking about.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
EU, wtf? (3.66 / 3) (#12)
by delmoi on Thu May 24, 2001 at 09:06:01 PM EST

European Parliament recommends all Europeans use encryption and open source software

While at the same time wanting to keep all of their communications on file for 7 years? Why don't they just make up their minds...
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Congrats (none / 0) (#14)
by caine on Thu May 24, 2001 at 09:13:15 PM EST

Now you've gotten the hang of it :). The European Parliament is seriously schizophrenic due to the different countries' highly varying opinions.

--

[ Parent ]

Unlike the US... (none / 0) (#40)
by SIGFPE on Sun May 27, 2001 at 04:06:04 PM EST

...where everyone thinks the same thing? Just what are you trying to say?
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
I don't approve of the 7 year thing... (none / 0) (#15)
by SIGFPE on Thu May 24, 2001 at 09:53:17 PM EST

...but I can't see any contradiction between these policies. Can you explain why you see one? It's just as easy to store encrypted data as unencrypted data.
SIGFPE
[ Parent ]
EU Parliament != EU Council (5.00 / 3) (#23)
by infraoctarine on Fri May 25, 2001 at 04:26:40 AM EST

As you can read in this Register article the proposal for communications retention comes from the EU Council (made up by ministers from the 15 member governments), while the report suggesting the use of encryption and open software comes from the EU Parliament.

The fact that they disagree should come as no surprise to a european, they do all the time. It seems like the Parliament wants privacy for the people, but openness in the government, while the Coucil wants pretty much the opposite. This is only one area in which our two legislative bodies disagree.

In addition to these, we also have the EU commission, and 15 national governments who all have their opinions, and all want their small share of power. No wonder EU politics is not always internally consistent :)

[ Parent ]
dumb and hypocritical policy (2.33 / 3) (#18)
by Pink Daisy on Thu May 24, 2001 at 10:27:37 PM EST

They cooperate in echelon, until they decide to set up their own covert spy operations. Then they advise everyone to use encryption and open source, for what cause? I'd say dislike of the US, but I doubt they care that much. Probably just political posturing.

It would be intelligent for them to say use the best tool for the job at hand. It would be nice for them to say something and act in a consistent manner. They aren't doing those things. I think they are a bunch of politicians more concerned about getting reelected and having a bigger slice of pie for themselves than they are about any of the people they represent.

Dumb and hypocritical (4.00 / 3) (#21)
by StrontiumDog on Fri May 25, 2001 at 03:47:15 AM EST

They cooperate in echelon, until they decide to set up their own covert spy operations

Wrong on two counts. First off, the EU has never been part of Echelon. Great Britain is part of Echelon. GB is not the EU.

Next, there are is no covert EU counterpart to Echelon. The EU is not a country. Individual countries may have their own espionage services. The bigger countries certainly do, the smaller countries probably don't. But there is no evidence that they are monitoring private US communication on a massive scale, while there is plenty of evidence that the US monitors the private communications of its "friends".

Then they advise everyone to use encryption and open source, for what cause?

Were you born dumb, or did you have to study for it? If a foreign government was monitoring your private communication, for whatever reason, and you had no legislative powers to prevent them from doing so, what alternatives do you have? Encrypt, to make eavesdropping more difficult, and use Open Source, in case software from the spying country has backdoors installed. This is the only rational approach, regardless of whether the spying country is the US, China, or Barbados.

[ Parent ]

I was born dumb. (none / 0) (#46)
by Pink Daisy on Tue Jun 05, 2001 at 12:20:32 AM EST

If a foreign government was monitoring my communication (say the American, or various EU goverments), I'd ignore them. Just like I do now. If I really cared (say if I WAS a foreign government, and I wanted to protect my own super-secret spy network) I'd be sure to use my own proprietary technology.

As for your assertions about the lack of an EU monitoring system, as you so smartly point out, the EU is composed of a large number of nations, many of which do perform monitoring. Thus, the lack of a coordinated public monitoring effort by the EU as a whole has exactly the same amount of meaning as the lack of a coordinated public effort by coke and pepsi to control the entire world soft drink market.

And as I say, I was born dumb. My studies were directed to becoming ignorant as well.

[ Parent ]

Left hand to Right hand: Know not what I do! (4.00 / 1) (#29)
by jd on Fri May 25, 2001 at 10:11:13 AM EST

Methinks that the department making the recommendation is totally different from the one wanting to monitor everything.

Indeed, they -can't- be the same. Simple logic. If you've strong encryption, and can monitor for back-doors, surveillance becomes a moot point.

IMHO, this also demonstrates that not all in the EU agree with the monitoring policies. Which could prove interesting. After all, if one group can monitor, so can another. And that's bad for business - big or otherwise.

This could become quite a political battle.

Espionage would be quite okay, but... (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by Lepus on Sun May 27, 2001 at 04:25:22 AM EST

Well, of course every government does espionage, that is much of a fact. The thing that disturbs me in the way the US thinks, is that they would like to manipulate the world so they could spy on everybody, and claim it is for national safety.

The motto is "What we can't decode, shouldn't be allowed to exist!"

First it was the export limitation of encryption software. It pisses me off thinking the US governemnt thought that they could "forbid" the world using strong encryption, and it pisses me off even more that most Europeans were still stupid enough to use the US shit that was given them.

I think this, at least, is a formal attack against this policy. Not much, but still something.

Euro Encryption paranoria of Europeans (4.00 / 1) (#45)
by flatbow on Sat Jun 02, 2001 at 03:08:02 AM EST

As an Englishman I can understand the paranoia of the rest of Europe. The system alleged to be spying on Europe is hosted by the UK and run by the USA. Whilst the UK and USA share a common(?) language, (although it may not mean the same things to both its speakers), one has to realise that some continentals do not view the English speaking Anglo-Saxons as necessarily being their 'Friends' neither do they regard the English/UK as being fully integrated into the EU. Both the UK and USA are regarded with great suspicion by some on the continent, with the UK being thought of , in some cases, as an offshore aircraft carrier for the US, and in extreme cases as merely another state of the union. Anything run as a joint US/UK venture therefore is regarded with suspicion.

European Parliament recommends all Europeans use encryption and open source software | 46 comments (41 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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