Armin Medosch on Thu, 29 Apr 1999 19:19:15 +0200 (CEST)

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Euro police press on ... and America's guiding hand is revealed
Duncan Campbell

America's guiding hand revealed - the secret international organisation
behind Europe's controversial plans for Internet surveillance 
Duncan Campbell


Euro police press on ... and America's guiding hand is revealed

Duncan Campbell, Edinburgh

THE LATEST VERSION of the ENFOPOL 98 interception plan has just been
leaked in London.  It reveals that although the name of the key document
has been changed, European Commission officials still want to make tapping
the Internet official European policy by the end of May.  They are
pressing on, despite strong domestic opposition in Germany and Austria
(Telepolis 16 March etc) and recent condemnation by the European
Parliament (Telepolis 30 March etc). 

The new document is called ENFOPOL 19. It was obtained this week by Caspar
Bowden of the London-based Foundation for Information Policy Research

ENFOPOL 19 was written at a police officials' meeting in Brussels on 11
March, and was issued by the German presidency on 15 March.  According to
the British government, "the German Presidency has indicated that it hopes
to seek agreement to the draft Council Resolution at the Justice and Home
Affairs Council in May".  The Council will meet on 27-28 May. 

ENFOPOL 19 still concerns "interception of telecommunications in relation
to new technologies".  But instead of detailing massive new requirements
for tapping the Internet and other new communications systems, the police
group is now pretending that it is not a new policy at all. 

Referring to the first European tapping plan of 1995, ENFOPOL 19 says that
"the requirements of law enforcement agencies ... are applicable both to
existing and new communications technologies, for example satellite
telecommunications and Internet telecommunications".  Thus, it claims, the
"technical terms" in the 1995 plan "are to be interpreted as applying to
... in the case of the Internet, the static and dynamic IP address, credit
card number and E-mail address".  In fact, the 1995 policy says nothing
about credit card numbers being used to tap telecommunications. 

The new document points out that when tapping the Internet, it is not
necessary to ask for the details of the sender and the recipient, because
these are included in every "datagram" or IP packet.  So new regulations
for the Internet may not be needed. 

But this is a deceptive manoeuvre. Successive redrafts of ENFOPOL 98
reveal that the original, highly controversial plan exposed by Telepolis
has been broken up into at least five parts, which are now being handled

*       Plans for tapping Iridium and other satellite-based personal
communications systems have been separated and are being discussed at a
high level in the Commission; 

*       Part of ENFOPOL 98 which set out new requirements for personal
data about subscribers will be included in "other Council Resolutions to
be adopted"; 

*       Another resolution will require Internet Service Providers to set
up high security interception interfaces inside their premises. These
"interception interfaces" would have to be installed in a high security
zone to which only security cleared and vetted employees could have
access. This is not included in ENFOPOL 19; 

*       ENFOPOL 19 also suggests that some tapping systems could operate
through a "virtual interface".  This would mean installing special
software at Internet access points, controlled remotely by government
security agencies. 

*       A fourth new policy concerning cryptography is now being dealt
with separately. 

The police group now plan that the old and new resolutions will be put
into a monitoring "manual", together with detailed instructions on
intercepting the Internet. This will include "technical descriptions"
which have been taken out of the original ENFOPOL 98.  If this manoeuvre
succeeds, then ENFOPOL 98 will escape scrutiny by being smuggled through
in parts, while the European Parliament is dissolved (because of the June

But the biggest secret about ENFOPOL 98 has never been told, until now. 
The controversial document wasn't written by European governments or the
European Commission.  Both ENFOPOL 98 and Europe's 1995 monitoring policy
were written by a US-dominated group of security and law enforcement
agency experts, called ILETS.  This group does not include any industry or
human rights and privacy law advisers. 

Over the last six years, ILETS has single-handedly forced governments and
international standards bodies to build in their "requirements" to laws,
networks and new communications systems.  Their activities have never been
reported to national Parliaments, the European Parliament or even the US

Not until Telepolis revealed the ENFOPOL 98 affair has the secret ILETS
organisation been exposed or challenged. 

The secret hand behind ENFOPOL


Telepolis - Magazine of NetCulture

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