philippe landau (by way of Name.Space) on Fri, 28 May 1999 15:03:27 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> [IFWP] Permanent massive Internet tapping revealed

Crisis: Massive Internet tapping revealed [5/27]

    We apologize in advance for this rant, but we firmly believe it is
necessary to expose this shocking (if not surprising) story to as many
people as possible -- before the circles of power which have created it
solidify their positions beyond any chance of being stopped. 

[...] story that broke over the weekend and has received remarkably
little press considering its terrifying implications.

    According to this article on Australian publication The Age, an Aussie
official has finally come forward to confirm one of the worst fears of
Netizens -- that a large majority of Internet traffic, including
personal/business communication such as email, is being passively tapped
by the AU/UK/USA governments as a result of a secret treaty signed in the
late 1940's, and that these communications are constantly screened for
items that would be of interest to each country's respective intelligence

    This system is called "Echelon," and although many Internet users
suspected such a system existed, we had all secretly hoped that it would
fall under the same "possible but not probable" banner of our other
collective paranoia. Apparently, we were wrong in the worst possible

    Even worse, with the cold war now (hopefully) over, these systems may
be abused for nearly any purpose, provided the abuser has access to those
in control of these tapping systems. [...] The implications are
terrifying, and could be catastrophic if not addressed [...] by every
person who uses the Internet and expects to have their rights respected in
even the vaguest fashion. 

    This "Echelon" project threatens what may be the greatest potential of
the Internet. By bringing people together in an environment free of
physical and even, in a fashion, temporal boundaries, this medium has
allowed information to become an even more important part of our lives.
Freedom of that information is one and the same with freedom of
individuals. This freedom has the potential to reshape the world we live
in by breaking down national borders, bringing together people of entirely
different walks of life, and fostering a worldwide effort to shed outdated
modes of social, commercial, and governmental operation. 

    This project makes that freedom laughable and nearly impossible to

    Unfortunately, for such an organization to exist in the first place,
it must be well-protected and have the support of whoever it is in these
countries who is really pulling the strings. Hazarding a guess at who that
is has become an increasingly difficult job in recent years. 

    MOSR is not a political site, and as such, we won't tell you what to
think. It isn't our place or intent to incite antigovernmental sentiment
-- or pro-government sentiment for that matter. However, if you do agree
with us that something must be done about Echelon, there are several
options at your disposal.

kind regards     philippe,

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