Philippe Riviere on Fri, 7 May 1999 18:32:14 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Communications interception and ECHELON : 1999 STOA report for European Parliament released

From: IPTV Ltd <>
Date: Thu, 06 May 1999 22:24:03 +0100

  6 May 1999 (for release 7 May 1999)

Interception Capabilities 2000        ("IC2000")

The IC2000 report on communications interception and ECHELON was approved
as a working document by the Science and Technology Options Assessment
Panel of the European Parliament (STOA) at their meeting in Strasbourg on
6 May 1999. 

The report is therefore available for public distribution from the
European Parliament office in Luxembourg.  A web version has been prepared
and will be placed on the on the EP web site.  Until that version is
loaded, specialist groups and media writers can obtain the report from the
temporary web site listed at the end. 

Key findings of the IC2000 report

               Comprehensive systems exist to access, intercept and 
process every important modern form of  communications, with few exceptions 
(section 2, technical annexe);

               The report provides original new documentary and other 
evidence about the ECHELON system and its role in the interception of 
communication satellites (section 3). In excess of 120 satellite based 
systems are currently in simultaneous operation collecting intelligence 
(section 2).    Submarines are routinely used to access and intercept 
undersea communications systems.

       There is wide-ranging evidence indicating that major governments 
are routinely utilising communications intelligence to provide commercial 
advantage to companies and trade.

               Although "word spotting" search systems to automatically 
select telephone calls of intelligence interest are not thought to be 
effective, speaker recognition  systems  in effect, "voiceprints"  have 
been developed and are deployed to recognise the speech of targeted 
individuals making international telephone calls;

       Recent diplomatic initiatives by the United States government 
seeking European agreement to the "key escrow" system of cryptography 
masked intelligence collection requirements, forming part of a long-term 
program which has undermined and continues to undermine the communications 
privacy European companies and citizens;

       Interception for legally authorised domestic interception and 
interception for clandestine intelligence purposes must be sharply 
distinguished.  A clear boundary between law enforcement and "national 
security" interception activity is essential to the protection of human 
rights and fundamental freedoms.

       Providing the measures called for in the 1998 Parliamentary 
resolution on "Transatlantic relations/ECHELON measures may be facilitated 
by developing an in-depth understanding of present and future Comint 
capabilities.   Protective measures may best be focused on defeating 
hostile Comint activity by denying access or, where this is impractical or 
impossible, preventing processing of message content and associated traffic 
information by general use of cryptography.

       In relation to the manner in which Internet browsers and other 
software is deliberately weakened for use by other than US citizens, 
consideration could be given to a countermeasure whereby, if systems with 
disabled cryptographic systems are sold outside the United States, they 
should be required to conform to an "open standard" such that third parties 
and other nations may provide additional applications which restore the 
level of security to at least that enjoyed by domestic US customers.

       It should be possible to define and enforce a shared interest in 
implementing measures to defeat future external Sigint activities directed 
against European states, citizens and commercial activities.

The report is available at

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