Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Echelon: No Accountability

By xah in News
Sun Feb 27, 2000 at 09:42:41 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

Former National Security Agency (NSA) agent Mike Frost told the television news program "60 Minutes" in a story broadcast today that the ultra-secret Echelon has spied on all forms of electronic communication ranging from phone calls to e-mail for the last 20 years. The NSA runs Echelon along with Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. Ordinary citizens were listened to after saying they "bombed" in a play on the telephone. Politicans such as Margaret Thatcher have received reports on rival governmental officials. Frost indicates that there is no accountability for Echelon, meaning there are no administrative checks on its actions.


Anyone's conversations anywhere at anytime may be subject to eavesdropping for any purpose that suits this ultra-secret American espionage agency. In my opinion, this is a gross deviation from the founding values of the United States. I strongly feel, as an American citizen, that this will breed resentment in other countries against our country. It also opens the door to any imaginable level of domestic spying. Does it sound like 1984, anyone?

PGP/GPG'ing everything is sounding better and better to me.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o in a story broadcast today
o Also by xah


Display: Sort:
Echelon: No Accountability | 11 comments (11 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Gosh... I meant to watch that. I ... (1.00 / 1) (#5)
by neonman on Sun Feb 27, 2000 at 08:41:24 PM EST

neonman voted 1 on this story.

Gosh... I meant to watch that. I guess I was too caught up in this damn exam preparation. shit. I wonder if they'll put it up in realplayer format or something.
_________________________
Aaron Grogan
aaron@stufflikethat.org
http://stufflikethat.org/

The more that is known about Echelo... (1.00 / 1) (#2)
by Strange Charmed One on Sun Feb 27, 2000 at 09:03:43 PM EST

Strange Charmed One voted 1 on this story.

The more that is known about Echelon, the better!
--
Feel the urge to put excessively cute little quotes into your .sig?

JUST SAY NO!

If you or one of your friends is frequently plagued by this tendency, Help IS available- Ask me how.

sure..why not...this is interesting... (1.00 / 2) (#4)
by rajivvarma on Sun Feb 27, 2000 at 09:31:24 PM EST

rajivvarma voted 1 on this story.

sure..why not...this is interesting

Rajiv Varma
Mirror of DeCSS.

Not just a United States issue, eit... (1.00 / 1) (#3)
by Demona on Sun Feb 27, 2000 at 09:41:00 PM EST

Demona voted 1 on this story.

Not just a United States issue, either. Glad to see this getting more coverage. Nice executive summary. More later, hopefully.

This is a very important issue. Pe... (2.00 / 3) (#1)
by Inoshiro on Sun Feb 27, 2000 at 09:42:41 PM EST

Inoshiro voted 1 on this story.

This is a very important issue. People always seem to forget that once you violate the spirit of freedom and privacy to queel a few odd criminals, or just in general to have an "upper hand," you lay yourself in the same bed as every other truth distorting tyrant in history. Please overthrow your local echelon supporting government, and replace it with something that has constitutional protection against such a thing :-)

--
[ イノシロ ]

Re: Echelon: No Accountability (3.30 / 3) (#6)
by rongen on Sun Feb 27, 2000 at 11:13:39 PM EST

I watched this report tonight. One issue they discussed, and which
I've seen discussed before, is the possibility that some ECHELON data
may be being given to large American corporations for economic
purposes. While I haven't seen any proof of this it's not as
far-fetched and "paranoid" as one might initially think.

National security is intimately linked with a healthy (over-bearing,
rampaging-elephant-like, whatever) economy. I can imagine ECHELON data
being used to bolster major players in the US economy (business could
get a lot of mileage out of competitors phone calls, merger plans,
tele-conferencing data, etc). Does anyone think this is just a
"conspiracy theory" or is this possible or concievable? I am on the
fence since I don't have any proof and prefer not to get hot under the
collar about stuff that may not even be real. It's fun to think about
though!


read/write http://www.prosebush.com
Re: Echelon: No Accountability (2.00 / 1) (#7)
by Imperator on Mon Feb 28, 2000 at 12:18:54 AM EST

I believe there are several known cases of European governments doing that. And of course, it sounds plausible for the US government to do the same. However, without any real evidence, I'm still quite skeptical on the matter.

[ Parent ]
Re: Echelon: No Accountability (4.00 / 2) (#8)
by joeyo on Mon Feb 28, 2000 at 01:01:21 AM EST

Didn't this happen in J. Edgar Hoover's era? In fact, wasn't some anti-spying (on the American public) law enacted to prevent giving unfair advantages to government contractors. And wasn't ECHELON created to get around this law? (ie "since we can't spy on our own public we will spy on other countries and other countires will spy on us and we will all trade notes in this big international orgy called ECHELON")

Now, I AM NOT a conspiracy theorist but eventually you get to the point where the technology is there, and if it's there and there is no meaningful law to prevent "them" from using said technology it is only parsimonious to assume that it is being used. This goes for ANY application of science and technology, IMHO.

Btw, I just saw the "Add to Hotlist" feature right now. Good Work Rusty! I'm gonna test it with this story. Also, I'm trying to learn perl so I'll give the scoop source a download. I won't be able to use it on my site because I don't have SQL access but I'll at least take a gander at it.

/joeyo

--
"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi
[ Parent ]

Re: Echelon: No Accountability (none / 0) (#9)
by rusty on Mon Feb 28, 2000 at 01:19:45 AM EST

Also, I'm trying to learn perl so I'll give the scoop source a download. I won't be able to use it on my site because I don't have SQL access but I'll at least take a gander at it.

Yowzers. Just make sure you don't take it as a "handy howto for web programming." The code, right now, has gotten to the state where I'm fixing bugs by intuition alone (...if I were writing that feature now, I would have put that line right about... [closes eyes, twirls mouse] ...here!). A rewrite is in the works...

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

"National Security" (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by Demona on Mon Feb 28, 2000 at 10:16:42 AM EST

...is a myth. The "nation" does not exist except as an abstract concept. The "nation" can only be secure if its individual constituents are secure, and everyone has a different idea of security. For example, it's my considered opinion that all nations and peoples would be most secure if there were no restrictions whatsoever on weapons or cryptography. Obviously, the "National Security Establishment" disagrees.

"The individual is the smallest minority."

[ Parent ]

Re: Echelon: No Accountability (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by Paul Dunne on Tue Feb 29, 2000 at 05:59:22 PM EST

Curious to note the changing fortunes of the rumours about Echelon in the Jargon file. As recently as 1996, the "party line" was:

$ grep -A30 'NSA line eater' library/computers/security/jarg400.txt
:NSA line eater: /n./ The National Security Agency trawling
program sometimes assumed to be reading the net for the
U.S. Government's spooks. Most hackers describe it as a mythical
beast, but some believe it actually exists, more aren't sure, and
many believe in acting as though it exists just in case. Some
netters put loaded phrases like `KGB', `Uzi', `nuclear
materials', `Palestine', `cocaine', and `assassination' in
their {sig block}s in a (probably futile) attempt to confuse and
overload the creature. The {GNU} version of {EMACS} actually
has a command that randomly inserts a bunch of insidious
anarcho-verbiage into your edited text.

There is a mainstream variant of this myth involving a `Trunk Line
Monitor', which supposedly used speech recognition to extract words
from telephone trunks. This one was making the rounds in the
late 1970s, spread by people who had no idea of then-current
technology or the storage, signal-processing, or speech recognition
needs of such a project. On the basis of mass-storage costs alone
it would have been cheaper to hire 50 high-school students and just
let them listen in. Speech-recognition technology can't do this
job even now (1996), and almost certainly won't in this millennium,
either. The peak of silliness came with a letter to an alternative
paper in New Haven, Connecticut, laying out the factoids of this
Big Brotherly affair. The letter writer then revealed his actual
agenda by offering -- at an amazing low price, just this once, we
take VISA and MasterCard -- a scrambler guaranteed to daunt the
Trunk Trawler and presumably allowing the would-be Baader-Meinhof
gangs of the world to get on with their business.
$

the last paragraph now reads:

As far back as the 1970s there was a mainstream variant of this myth
involving a `Trunk Line Monitor', which supposedly used speech
recognition to extract words from telephone trunks. This is much
harder than noticing keywords in email, and most of the people who
originally propagated it had no idea of then-current technology or the
storage, signal-processing, or speech recognition needs of such a
project. On the basis of mass-storage costs alone it would have been
cheaper to hire 50 high-school students and just let them listen in.
Twenty years and several orders of technological magnitude later,
however, there are clear indications that the NSA has actually
deployed such filtering (again, very much against U.S. law).

Well, I suppose nobody can be right all the time.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/

Echelon: No Accountability | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!