Rop Gonggrijp on Fri, 22 Oct 1999 02:25:29 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Jamming Echelon

----- Forwarded message from Rop Gonggrijp -----
>From Thu Oct 21 20:03:00 1999

I've spoken out about jamming Echelon the last time the idea came up, and
I vowed to keep my mouth shut this time. But I have received just too many
mails on too many mailing lists that had this crazy list of
all-capitalized naughty words stuck at the end. 

N o w   l o o k   h e r e:

The people you're protesting against are professionals. They've been
systematically monitoring citizens like us since the early sixties. In
their history, they've spied on much larger and much more powerful popular
movements with more determination to have an impact on government
interests. They have yet to show any sign of being impressed by anything
less than a direct hit from a nuclear warhead on their Fort Meade
facilities. I say that these people are not going to lose any sleep over
these protests. 

But much more importantly:

Suppose you own a global multi trillion dollar SIGnals INTelligence
operation that can detect keywords in speech on _many_ simultaneous
channels in many simultaneous languages, as well as demodulate all the
modem carriers in these channels, and do speaker recognition as a bonus.
Suppose your operation is also nicely plugged into the Internet. Then how
hard would it be to write a little script (in whatever scripting language
you are already using to detect interesting content in your normal
operations) that detects this is one of those 'Jamming Echelon' mails ? 

If this is the case, all that is left from these protests is some extra
information in the databases. For instance: have you noticed everyone
picks different words? The spread of certain words from individual to
individual and the selection of them for the signature probably gives away
more about the image this person has of the NSA as well as of his/her
activities then most stuff written in their e-mails. Think about it. 

The only way this protest would disturb anything is if the NSA did not
have their act together. And then we would not need to protest, right ? 

Now don't get me wrong: Generating attention so that people understand
what the NSA does is nice. But let's not do it by spreading misinformation
about what can be done against it. Believe me: next time I stand before a
non-technical audience and talk about the need for mass-encryption,
someone will get up and say: "Oh yeah, that Echelon thing. That was a real
problem until people started jamming it. I heard it basically exploded
from reading all these keywords." 

Let's instead focus on getting the mass of people to understand that their
only way out of this is to use encryption. It's much more difficult, less
glamorous, and the satisfaction is less instant. But it needs to be done,
and all this half-assed crap diverts from that mission. 



P.S.: Feel free to repost this in any forum you feel is appropriate.


+--- I hereby claim that including these words and then posting to
     Usenet will waste infinitely more government time. Lots of
     government officials have Internet to their desk PCs these days.

----- End of forwarded message from Rop Gonggrijp -----

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