Re: [n5m3-debates] HAPPY JAM ECHELON DAY!!
Fri, 22 Oct 1999 10:30:08 +1000
[: hacktivism :]
I'm a new subscriber to this list, my name may be familiar to some from
nettime or other lists. My general credentials include service in the
R.A.N, where I worked in systems such as missle fire control and ECM/ECCM,
as well as more recently I am a systems administrator of internet systems
So my first post is to say that I have to add my agreement with Ted's. Jam
Echelon Day appears to be better for publicity (but see my last para) than
for actually jamming anything in the absence of any real knowledge of the
systems detailed design.
I think that the "keyword list" generally given for Jam Echelon Day has
fairly puerile bias towards domestic issues in the USA. Someone said
"forgive me for being born in the USA"; well OK I can do that -- but why
should I forgive you for being ignorant of the rest of the world? Not
wanting to start a flame war, but just to point out that its up to YOU to
learn about the "rest of the world" and that includes the UK part of that
UKUSA as well as its other participants.
I'm going to dredge up and re-edit a part of another post I sent to nettime
(so forgive me if you have seen something similar to this before):
First, you should at least pay attention to the fact that UKUSA has five
member nations; only one is interested particularly in right-wing patriot
terrorists and branch dravidians. this keyword selection is simply a
valorisation of a certain brand of politics as being the major perceived
threat of the 'world government' that UKUSA so obviously serves. the
keyword list does not pay much attention to the global situation;
focussing instead as ever almost exclusively on american domestic interests
as opposed to their foreign allies & adventures.
It also pays no attention to the geophysical aspects of the various echelon
stations around the globe. for example stations in the asia pacific might
be more sensitive to indonesian military traffic and chinese triad activity
as much as any iran-contra scandal. why would the americans looks for
contra-drugs-for-arms conspiracies in radio traffic over s.e. asia when
such signals would more easily be found in virginia anyway? even the nsa
does not have limitless resources -- or i would at least hope it would not
stupidly squander them so recklessly.
Remember echelon is global. someone asserted to me recently their belief
that the entire security apparatus of the USA is basically run to British
interests anyway. Remembering the British have has a professional
intelligence service and a professional army "looking after interests
abroad" far longer than America has existed as a nation. I don't know how
much stock I should put in that (little I would hazard a guess) but it's
food for thought and puts paid to all the WACO stuff frankly. if it (WACO)
were that important i'm sure the CIA/NSA/MIA would not let the FBI look
after it (remembering their famous jealousy).
Someone asks "well what keywords should I use" but fails to ask the REAL
question: are there ANY keywords to be used at all?
Intelligence systems do not operate in idiotic isolation. such generalised
farming for information is generally agreed to be one of the least useful
ways to gather information. In intelligence, you have to "add up the sum of
the parts" and "draw the dots". meaning, a little newspaper report here,
some SAS recce there, SIGINT sources, a satellite photo, and you weight
each of these and then produce an outlook on what you think is going down.
that's what an intelligence analyst spends most of his or her time doing!
So that means that intercepts are often targeted, e.g. phone calls in an
area, email from a person monitored, and so on.
Someone also posted a PGP-encypted message which is as far as I can tell
probably a better way to 'jam' Echelon if in fact it DOES do generalised
scans of all traffic -- because you'll waste more resources as they try to
General signals analysis might only be done at the 'meta' level until more
interesting features arise -- to determine nominal levels of different
signals -- pattern analysis of signals deviations would be monitored and
categorised as well as _pattern analysis of communication content_. keyword
filters? hah! how primitive!
Targets might be monitored for changes in signals patterns; which give
valuable intelligence in its own right quite apart from the value of the
actual content. to illustrate, if a person suddenly starts sending many
encrypted messages one day to highly unusual addresses, this might be
important information which can be acted upon immediately, before the
contents of the messages are decrypted. if all was being done was simple
keyword seaching, such intelligence would be long lost before its
importance was ever known.
Simple keyword scanning isn't enough, and i'll bet that operators of
dictionary will simply be able to filter out en-masse that large block of
similar keywords together as below. don't you think a filter might mave an
"exclude" function? Don't you think if they have that capability that they
could JUST AS EASILY exclude every single post from any subscriber to this
list for the entire week? I'm sure if they are really looking for important
information they'd have to also do a STEGANOGRAPHIC scan of the email as
well as a brute-force text scan? If you where doing devoting that much
resources, wouldn't it make more sense to do it to a TARGET and not just
And lastly, a little food for thought: how do you know that ECHELON doesn't
exist, and the NSA (or whoever) merely want us to believe it does? We could
all be participating in a black ops misinformation campaign!
----- Original Message -----
From: t byfield <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, October 22, 1999 1:52 AM
Subject: Re: [n5m3-debates] HAPPY JAM ECHELON DAY!!
> [: hacktivism :]
> <originally sent to:
> --- The Next 5 Minutes 3 Public Debates List -- http://www.n5m.org ---
> this isn't a list of what interests surveillance forces, it's
> a list of what interests american leftists. ('oliver north'?
> why not 'watergate' or even 'teapot dome scandal'?) but that
> doesn't quite capture it, even: really, it read like a sort
> of informatic version of a medieval bestiary or heresiology--
> a _summa_ of the specters and bogeys who formed the lesser
> pantheon, all connected through webs of resemblance and fili-
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