Who's eyes do I feel on my back?

From pearrow@nvbell.net
Date Mon, 01 Nov 1999 16:39:59 -0800
References <><381D03AC.B6C2B43@tao.ca>

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I watched the discussion on Echelon (and other) with considerable
interest.  The reason: I've had the frustrating experience several times
of being under the microscope from the dungeons around D.C.

It's clear that intercept operations go on in the world, particularly by
NATO.  Not only interception, but active disinformation as well.  This
has been admitted and has been in the news.  But the screening of each
e-mail in the world by computer stretches my imagination too far.  We
are talking about millions upon millions -- possibly billions -- of
messages each day, and lesser millions tumbling out innocently by
hitting one of the "hot" words.  Each of those daily "hot" millions
would have to then be screened by a person to determine their nature. 
How many could each individual read each day?  Divide that and you
couldn't stuff them into the Pentagon.

The last time I fell under monitoring was a couple of years ago,
certainly within Echelon's lifetime.  I discuss the issues behind those
"hot" words openly in my e-mail, accepting that any message may well be
screened.   But it wasn't "hot" words that tumbled me out for a
look-see.  It was e-Bay when I picked up a disk of "The Anarchist's
Cookbook."  Fair warning: if you use e-Bay or other auctions, Big
Brother is watching.

Won't bore you with the rest.

So, two years ago, they weren't using Echelon.  They could have added me
to the "hot" list and gathered me in that way, although that would
probably miss some in-server messages.  Instead, they ordered the server
to begin copying my messages for them.  Going that route was sticky for
them.  There was always a chance that someone at the server would talk
or I would discover it, which is what happened.  I happily made a big
stink out of it until the FCC wouldn't even tell me where the local
office was, saying "our people are to busy to fool with the public." If
they had a safer, quieter way to do it, I have to believe that they
would have gone that route.

The main point is that you are probably going to have to draw their
attention.  But, when you do, they're going to be reading it.  My
suggestion is to draw in your mind what is legal and not, then treat
every e-mail you write as if everybody was reading it.

One last parting note.  Waco, Ruby Ridge, and some other "hot" words on
the list were strictly domestic issues.  Knowing the FBI and the various
intelligence services as we do, would they share satellites with other
nations on internal affairs, perhaps even ongoing terrorist activity?


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