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207 comments

Re:[nrrrf...] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887620)

I'm normally right on top of all the conspiracy theories, but what are the "NSA 'help fields' in Netscape and IE"?

ROTFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887621)

Oh shit, it's the NSA Line Eater!

For all you kiddies out there, here is the jargon [netmeg.net] file.

Why do I get the impression that this story was done by the same people in the previous article?

Re:[nrrrf...] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887622)

I'm normally right on top of all the conspiracy theories, but what are the "NSA 'help fields' in Netscape and IE"?

I'm not 100% sure but I think it has to do with the weakened keys that are used in the export-ready versions of browsers.

Hey... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887623)

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

monitoring USENET? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887624)

So the NSA is storing USENET articles? OHMYGOD! This has gotten out of hand! I've just learned that my ISP is doing the same thing! So is almost every other ISP!

Oh wait, never mind. That's what they call a news server isn't it. Maybe I shouldn't panic because the gov't can afford a larger news spool.

May or may not be true, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887625)

Anything that perpetuates the widespread acceptance and use of encryption is OK in my book.

Therefore it is in all our best interests for this to be True, whether or not it's actually true. You dig where I'm coming from here?

So next time your boss asks you, tell him "yeah they're listening just past the firewall."

Re:Revolution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887626)

Your representatives don't know nothing about this, this kind of stuff always seems to happen if you give government agencies power...

Re:Freedom to bare arms.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887627)

Actually, in my Big Aunt Melba's case, we have prohibited her from baring her arms. Especially at the dinner table.

We explained to her that the "right to bare arms" was created in a time when potato chips and chocolate Ding Dongs did not exist. Had the founding fathers known the consequences, they would not have wanted her to bare her arms either.

Have a sillier day. :)

Re:Proud to be an American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887628)

"When our leaders do what Clinton has done, and when our Government steals not only from other Governments, but from independent companies and it's own people,"

A long, long time ago stealing from other countries was called war.

Re:wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887629)

What does capitalism have to do with the government reading your e-mail? If you had said democracy, you would have been more accurate, but not entirely. We live under an increasingly socialistic government. It's not going to get any better by posting messages to this forum or sending letters to the very government that has slowly taken your freedom away. The only way it's going to get any better is for you (yes, I do mean every one of you) to TAKE BACK YOUR FREEDOM by whatever means necessary including armed revolution against an oppressive government.

Re:TONS of supporting evidence! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887630)

"Anonymous, and proud of it. Bite me."

Anonymous for usual /.-Readers. But not for the NSA. But they won't bite you, you seem to be on their side.

Re:Web logs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887631)

Hey, if you know the IP address(es), you can block them rather easily... Simply deny access. Firewalls can be good...

Re:TONS of supporting evidence! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887632)

the proof is in the pictures. besides,
you can always go on a menthwill(sp-?) hill tour
and see the huge infrastructure and tons of
cash poured into echelon.

This Easiest Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887633)

This is all long known. The easiest solution: Deliver all sensitive material personal (right, not via phone, fax or eMail but face to face). If the effort is to high ur information isn't important enugh.

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887634)

When they designed the stealth (early 70's) they had just gotten the ability to model the radar signature, but could not do curved designs in 3D. By the time they actually were ready for production, the modeling caught up and the designers wanted to make the plane with a more aerodynamic shape, but the military brass thought is was more 'sexy' with the flat corners. That is also why the plane is black, even though that actually makes it easier to spot than if they painted it grey or blue.

Actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887635)

Concorde was a joint British-French venture, but anyway...

That there was Russian interest in the blueprints was "discovered" by the "security services", and so some modified plans were drawn up and subsequently copied by the KGB spooks.

The resulting aeroplane was the Tupelov TU-144, affectionatly known as "Concordski" - a 2/3 scale replica of a Concorde that couldn't fly . . . or at least not for very long :)

Interesting math and/or factchecking, though. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887636)

[from the report footnotes]
> 35.Personal communication from DERA. A Terabyte
> is one thousand Gigabytes, i.e., 1012 bytes.

"Oh."

Proud to be an American... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887680)

I USED to be proud to be an American. Now I'm not so sure. When our leaders do what Clinton has done, and when our Government steals not only from other Governments, but from independent companies and it's own people, (That means you and me and the guy next door), it's WAY past time to get back to where we started. Get government back where it's supposed to be. Upholding the Constitution, and out of my wallet, and off my computer.

The NSA line eater. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887681)

>Records of access to the site show that every morning it is visited by a bot from
>NSA's National Computer Security Center, which looks for new files and makes copies
>of any that it finds.

I want to know what subnet this beast emerges from so I can filter it out. Nah. It probably reappears on all sorts of IP addresses including ones already assigned to others. Since when does the NSA follow rules?

Instead, I think I'll just have some huge files in a directory called high_yield_warheads that actually contain the output of /dev/urandom. That ought to keep their supercomputers busy for a while. :)

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887682)

speaking as an aerospace engineer:
corners are bad from an aerodynamic (flow separation) and structural (pressurization and optimum volume/weight) standpoint. For radar reflection (not my area btw.) i hear that the angled panels were an easy way to control the direction that a signal was returned. The compromise was between aerodynamics wanting smooth curves and stealth wanting plates. of course, throw enough math at the problem and you can get a nicer compromise.

TONS of supporting evidence! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887687)

Wow, there were just MOUNTAINS of supporting evidence in that story. Like, er... uh... and, uh... wait a second. No, there was NONE. This sounds to me like one of those lame paranoia articles that the nuts put up on their web pages so the internet equivalent of check-out-line efficianados can have something to talk about when the X-Files hits a commercial. Come on! Doesn't it bother anyone that there's NO supporting evidence named in this story WHATSOEVER? Not even a SHRED! Not even a "Yeah, I heard from bob that the government is stealing corporations' secrets. What's that? Bob? Oh, he works for the government. What branch? Well, actually... the post office. Yeah, I ran into him while he was putting mail into my box yesterday, and he told me." There are real issues out there, people, and this (and CPUIDs,) isn't one of them!





Anonymous, and proud of it. Bite me.

don't be so naive (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 15 years ago | (#1887689)

For some reason I felt it necessary to log out to make this comment. Like it really matters.

They do it because the big aerospace co's make their hardware. They protect or help out these co's by telling them the European's competitor's bid, and then the US co. bids lower to get the job.


Intercepting international communications [mcmail.com]


Privacy Rights: Echelon and the UKUSA [miningco.com]


go and do a search in your favorite search engine and type in the 3 letter acronym and echelon. See what you get. Very educational.

just don't say the word echelon out loud.

but hey they're only covering "foreign" non-domestic communications right? um. uh. hmm.

Re:How about GPG instead of PGP? (2)

Erich (151) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887690)

Naaa... Phil Zimmerman says there are no backdoors or key escrow ``features'' in PGP. It also no longer uses RSA except for backwards compatability. PGP is exported using lots o' books of source code (with nifty checksums and stuff to aid in scanning) and is available for peer review...

Anyway, GPG isn't a bad idea, either.

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887691)

Ever wonder why the F-117 (the "stealth fighter") is composed of flat panels, all at odd angles? For purposes of stealth aircraft, corners are bad ju-ju. Yet the F-117 has tons of them.This is a statement without justification. Can you support it? If you can't support this, why should we believe you? Are you an areonautical or radar engineer? What are your qualifications to make such a statement? And can we translate your level of qualifications on this statement to your other comments in this message?

Right now, without more back-up for your comments, I'm afraid we'll have to file your message under the "Wishfull Thinking" department.


...phil

Re:[nrrrf...] (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887692)

The "help fields" are their to 'leak' part of the key, to make the encryption easier to break.


...phil

More NSA fun and games (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887693)

If you want to read more about NSA's fun and games with foreign crypto (and the comprimising thereof), try reading this [mediafilter.org] .


...phil

More NSA fun and games (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887694)

If you want to read more about NSA's fun and games with foreign crypto (and the comprimising thereof), try reading this: http://mediafilter.org/caq/cryptogate"


...phil

Re:The NSA isn't responsible for everything... (1)

phil reed (626) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887695)

Boy, I don't know how that happened.


...phil

Re:Freedom to bare arms.. (0)

PHroD (1018) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887699)

totally...they take away the right to keep firearms and then the gov't decides to become very corrupt (its on its way there), and the ppl cant defend themselves. And i dont care what you say, a well-placed shot from a .375 can take down a fighter plane. beware enslavement and protect yourselves!


"There is no spoon" - Neo, The Matrix

Re:wow... (0)

PHroD (1018) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887700)

I LOVE AMERICA. U...S...A...ALL THE WAY. I TRUST THE NSA. I TRUST MY GOVERNMENT TO TELL ME WHAT IS RIGHT AND WHAT ISN'T. I TRUST THEM ENOUGH TO GIVE THEM ALL MY NUKES, RAILGUNS AND VARIOUS LASER-BASED DEFENCE SYSTEMS IN MY NEVADA COMPOUND. YAY CAPITALISM.


"There is no spoon" - Neo, The Matrix

Web logs (2)

Joe Mucchiello (1030) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887701)

So Rob, how often does the NSA send a bot to /.?

I find it amazing that the NSA would be foolish enough not to spoof its own IP address if it was gathering information for illegal purposes. They actually work in secrets. They would know about web page logs.

Something else is going on here. But I'm not paranoid enough to really care.

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887702)

when, precicely, did isriel steal our nuclear technology

I belive it is widely held that we _gave_ it to them

Actually... (1)

YuppieScum (1096) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887703)

Concorde was a joint British-French venture, but anyway...

That there was Russian interest in the blueprints was "discovered" by the "security services", and so some modified plans were drawn up and subsequently copied by the KGB spooks.

The resulting aeroplane was the Tupelov TU-144, affectionatly known as "Concordski" - a 2/3 scale replica of a Concorde that couldn't fly . . . or at least not for very long :)

(bastard netscape 4.6 screwed my login, hence the previous ac post)

three words. . . (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887704)

Told ya so!

They said I was paranoid, they said I was crazy. I am not the one who is crazy. It is YOU who are crazy! I am just sane in a mad world!

Now we need to find the evidence that the US used this technology to give Intel and MS an advantage.




"The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
-jafac's law

Re:News? (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887705)

If I remember correctly (from The Learning Channel) - didn't the Russian Govt. spy on the French company that built the Concorde?

"The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
-jafac's law

Revolution? (2)

jafac (1449) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887707)

At the very least, I would consider it my civic duty to print out and mail a copy of this article to every one of my elected representatives.

Anyone have any luck with that "report" link? It keeps giving me a 500 Server Error.

"The number of suckers born each minute doubles every 18 months."
-jafac's law

Recommendations: "secure" browsers? (3)

Chexum (1498) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887708)

A few more point to the crypto-crippled exportable "secure" browser topic: the export versions are the most easily available for most of the world, I guess even mostly in the U.S too because of the awkward registrations to get it. You can however make Netscape at least talk stronger crypto with the help of Fortify [fortify.net] .

Second: all these inconveniences to get a secure browser to hide your communications are mostly useless considering the fact that only sites of very commercial nature let you use https (secure http via SSL/TLS). Of course, the point is not that "they" can see what we are talking about something on slashdot. They can see what we are talking about anything on anywhere.

U.S. is still pretty much driving the internet communications, protocols, applications and implementations, and when at every point we are limited to non-encrypted traffic, the bad guys still can get the whole picture (see, the bad guys even have the habit of defining the bad guys..). It's important do anything to get the U.S. lift those crypto controls, the regulations are not there for you! We would be in a much safer world where encryption would be ubiquitious, including even protocols like DNS, SMTP, POP3, HTTP. Maybe they would be a bit slower, but there would finally be another reason to get faster CPU's other than to run Bloatware version N+1 from MS. :)

Re:ROTFL (1)

Robert Crawford (1742) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887711)

That's what it sounds like. Besides, the "terabyte of storage" for "90 days" of Usenet doesn't sound right. How much storage does Dejanews need?

Kids, this smells like a reporter didn't use his critical facilities...

Re:Meredith hill? (1)

Mark Bainter (2222) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887713)

I think you mean Menwith hill.

;-)

Made me think of Cryptonomicon... (1)

InThane (2300) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887714)

...the book by Neal Stephenson.

In the book, they were talking about the black ops situations where they would create "reasons" that they could use the intelligence gained from the cracked codes by, say, flying a spyplane over a convoy that was already known about, or faking a merchant ship crossing near a Milchow (supply submarine) or a spy post that supposedly had been in the middle of Italy for 10-12 months previously...

And this is why I won't vote for Al Gore (1)

kavi_3 (5872) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887720)

He supports the US gov.'s asinine encyption policies like the clipper clip.

Re:Freedom to bare arms.. (1)

Baldy (6034) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887721)

FWIW:

The freedom to bare arms hasn't been contested anywhere I've seen. Short sleeve shirts, T-shirts, and halter tops are all still A-OK. The right to bear arms, on the other hand, has been debated lately. (And not of the ursine variety)

On a related thread, fire arms, though visually stunning, are not nearly as useful for defense against sundry boogeymen as are firearms.

Have a more accurate day.

(Asbestos undies *on*)

Re:Revolution? (1)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887722)

Yes. They're going to kill me. Now I'm worried!

Oh, and all Christians, save the politians, are Good!

Oooh. Now I'm quaking in my boots.

Ellis, you need to stop watching the X-Files and start reading few more newspapers.

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (1)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887723)

No, I'm not an aeronautical engineer. However, I did "study Electical Engineering in college" ;-) One of the required courses is electromagnetic wave theory.

Basically, whenever the wavelength of the wave is less than twice the width of a "pathway", the wave disperses in a spherical wave pattern rather than as a linear wave front. The result is that you get massive nasty reflection patterns whenver an electromagnetic wave passes near a corner. As a result, you want to minimize corners if you want to reduce electromagnetic wave reflections. This is common knowledge amongst people that deal with electromagnetic wave theory. This is not new, and has something to do with electromagnetic waves acting as both waves and as particles, depending on the circumstances.

Oh, and in case you still doubt me, please go to your local library and pour through Jane's, the military technology journal. They talk at length about the development of both the F-117 and the B-2. Although most of their information has been collected using illegal means, their information is continually confirmed when countries de-classify their military tech.

Re:How about GPG instead of PGP? (1)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887724)

Is this true for Network Associates's PGP? I thought v6.x did use RSA encryption.

At any rate, I'd still rather have source...

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (1)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887725)

The flat pieces are fine..it's the corners I'm talking about.

They reflect radar right back at the source. This is, in a word, Bad.

Back when I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer, I was fascinated with this stuff. There were lots of photographs that were publicly available that show radar reflection levels of aircraft. Oddly enough, every corner and point has about several orders of magnitude the radar reflection, as seen from the radar, as the flat parts. Alas, these days are about 10 years ago, before the days of the web. I'm not aware of any such photos on the web, but I wouldn't be surprised if they are easy to find...

How about GPG instead of PGP? (3)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887726)

Better use GPG instead. PGP (post v2.6.2, at least) uses RSA libraries, and probably also escrows keys with the government. GPG, on the other hand, is completely open source. It's also completely compatible with PGP.

perhaps I'm wrong, but... (4)

The Mayor (6048) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887727)

It seems that too many people watch X-Files, and are starting to confuse fact and fiction. This seems like a paraphrasing of the Echelon story run here about 1 1/2 weeks ago. That story, too, seemed design to confuse fact and fiction (very few verfiable sources were cited).

The hardware and man hours required for this level of communications monitoring is simply too great. Besides, too many people would know about this if this were true. The secret would have gotten out long ago, and with many more verifiable sources.

Ever think that Intel & Microsoft made it through clever, strategic, and downright dirty business tactics? If Intel had illegally obtained secrets from competitors, don't you think their chips would be at least as fast as their competitors? Don't you think that you, too, could do pull some pretty brutish moves if you had $20 billion cash-on-hand to use as investment capital?

Look, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there is a huge conspiracy. However, I usually tend to believe that the simplest explanation is also usually the correct one.

I'm not trying to say that the US gov't doesn't have the ability to track any given piece of e-mail, or that they can't crack any widely used encryption scheme, or that they can't monitor any given phone conversation in most parts of the world. I'm just saying that they don't monitor *every* e-mail and/or http: request. They can't crack *every* encrypted message. They can't monitor *every* phone call simultaneously. There's simply too much to do for that to be possible. And, while the US does have some interesting technologies in its military and intelligence wings, these technologies are orders of magnitude better than what ordinary individuals and companies have access to.

Ever wonder why the F-117 (the "stealth fighter") is composed of flat panels, all at odd angles? For purposes of stealth aircraft, corners are bad ju-ju. Yet the F-117 has tons of them. The reason is that the plane was designed in the early 70s, using commonly available technology during that time (not alien tech, as some suggest). They couldn't model curved surfaces on the supercomputers of their day! If they had access to some superior, ultra-fast technology, the F-117 would have looked more similar to the B-2. This isn't intended as definative proof that the US doesn't have such wonderous computing & networking tech. It is merely intended to show that the US gov't, too, proceeds at the same pace as the rest of the world, albeit with a quarter step head start. The tech required to do these sorts of things is simply too great--and I therefore reject these stories as X-Files inspired paranoia (and I hope that I am correct ;-).

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (2)

craw (6958) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887728)

According to the book "Skunk Works", the mathematics for computing the the radar cross-section was developed by a Soviet. Some engineer at Lockheed found it and realized it's potential. When they initially built a scaled down prototype of the F-117, they had problems measuring the radar cross-section. It turns out the pole that the scaled-down prototype was attached to was returning too big of a signal. The solution was to build a stealth pole! BTW, you're correct about the pilot's head; this was a big problem. It also gives you an idea of how small the plane's radar cross-section really is; if they have to worry about some guy's head...

I recommend that one read "Skunk Works." The author (now deceased) worked there and was the head of the F-117 project. There are great sections in the book describing two other great Skunk Work projects, the U-2 and the SR-71.

News? (2)

Andreas Bombe (7266) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887729)

This is news? Only because it concentrates on key escrow. It is known however that intelligence agencies are used to spy on foreign industry and to use the information to help local companies. They have to be of some use after the cold war has ended, after all.

Remember ECHELON? Was on /. a few days ago. There's a sort of funny story about that. A European (would have to look up whether it was German or Netherland) firm were sued by an US company over a patent they registered earlier. When the European company asked for the paperworks on that, they got some of their own internal fax communication that was eavesdropped. The agencies didn't even bother to remove the original company logo. IIRC the European company even lost in court...

[nrrrf...] (3)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887730)

Seems our government consists of a bunch of peeping toms. :)

Stealing industrial secrets when nobody's looking, enabling NSA "help fields" in netscape and internet explorer, advocating "secure communications" using the clipper chip, and a multi-billion dollar system dating back to the late 1960's to listen in on the phone conversations of Pamela Anderson (Located on Meredith Hill).

Shame on you! You've spent billions of taxpayer dollars to do do what the Drudge Reports pump out every week.



--

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (3)

Signal 11 (7608) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887731)

The hardware and man hours required for this level of communications monitoring is simply too great. Besides, too many people would know about this if this were true. The secret would have gotten out long ago, and with many more verifiable sources.

It has. More than a couple former NSA and CIA employees have come forth to explain the technology, and what's been going on. The biggest conspiracy is not that they are doing this, but that people refute the truth. They prefer a comfortable lie.

However, I usually tend to believe that the simplest explanation is also usually the correct one.

Well, the explanation is simple: Knowledge is power.

The FBI installs illegal wiretaps daily not because they can use it in court, but so that they can use that information to know when you are doing something.. and then have an agent able to spot that through legal means.

There is no huge conspiracy, only huge amounts of ignorance. The question I pose to you is - why must our government hide these things from us? What is national security... really? And why are they watching OUR communications, if it is foreign powers that they are honestly concerned about?

--

Re:Freedom to bare arms.. (1)

PD (9577) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887735)

Point one: Nazi Germany is just one country that bans firearms. I can point to dozens of other countries where they also have no firearms, and yet are free people.

Point two: Your general argument makes as much sense as a claim that speed limits are just the first step towards banning cars.

Read the Report (4)

Bernal KC (10943) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887737)

For those that might not have dug into the stories (busted) links, check out the actual report "Interception Capabilities 2000" [mcmail.com]

This report is a Good Thing for a number of reasons. It documents how the NSA and our "national security state" have been joined at the hip to U.S. economic interests. It corroborates various reports over the years of state sponsored economic surveillance. It debunks that argument that key-recovery is needed for law enforcement. Lots of good stuff with the authoratative imprimateur of the EU.

But the real good news is found in both " Comint capabilities after 2000 [mcmail.com] " and in " Policy issues for the European Parliament [mcmail.com] ". The cost of ComInt surveillance has proven to be prohibitive - a waste of time and money. And the rise of optical fibre networks has rendered snooping methods obsolete. But best of all, "Communications intelligence organisations recognise that the long war against civil and commercial cryptography has been lost."

Finally, check out this recommendation:

Consideration could be given to a countermeasure whereby, if systems with disabled cryptographic systems are sold outside the United States, they should be required to conform to an "open standard" such that third parties and other nations may provide additional applications which restore the level of security to at least enjoyed by domestic US customers.
The bad news is this is a report by the Chief Geek at EU to the parliament. What are the chances that anyone other than geeks will pay any attention?

That's not the part that surprises me. (3)

alhaz (11039) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887738)

This is obviously paranoid ramblings. But that doesn't surprise me.

What surprises me here is that it doesn't seem to bother anyone that we've come to the point where nobody questions the assumption that our government isn't any more trustworthy than the latest despot-of-the-week.

It surprises me that our government accepts the fact that we've grown cynical of their sincerity, and isn't worried about it.

Whither Wintel (1)

Shadarr (11622) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887743)

Intel is not mentioned in the article, and Microsoft only in the context of crippling their own software. So why do you use them as examples? While you are probably right on this and your other point, they are perpendicular to the thrust of the article. While I find it hard to believe all that is insinuated, if I had a backdoor into encrypted files and a couple million $$ worth of hardware (an amount that wouldn't even dent a government budget) I could do most of what was stated. It's not like they have to actually crack anything.
What I find harder to swallow is that they would be so easily caught on someone's logs. On the one hand they're being made out to be almost omnipotent, and on the other hand they don't even disguise thier IP?


It is sometimes necessary to speak.

Complete Report and Recommendations (5)

Carl (12719) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887748)

The complete report [mcmail.com] has some nice recommendations [mcmail.com] . Such as:

2. At the technical level, protective measures may best be focused on defeating hostile Comint activity by denying access or, where this is impractical or impossible, preventing processing of message content and associated traffic information by general use of cryptography.

5. At the present time, Internet browsers and other software used in almost every personal computer in Europe is deliberately disabled such that "secure" communications they send can, if collected, be read without difficulty by NSA. US manufacturers are compelled to make these arrangements under US export rules. A level playing field is important. Consideration could be given to a countermeasure whereby, if systems with disabled cryptographic systems are sold outside the United States, they should be required to conform to an "open standard" such that third parties and other nations may provide additional
applications which restore the level of security to at least enjoyed by domestic US customers.

We could tell them that is already possible :)

Re:A Quote from the Story (1)

A Big Gnu Thrush (12795) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887749)

Isn't this what DejaNews is for? Next they'll be building really fast servers which constantly scan the internet for text, logging it into an ultra-secret database which can be searched.

This is quite an eye opener (2)

finkployd (12902) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887750)

I mean, if you can't trust the US government, who can you trust? :)
It's called PGP, folks. Download it (illegally if necessary) and use it.

FinkPloyd


I think you're probably wrong. (2)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887757)

The fact that you believe that sharp corners increase radar visibility AND belive that a plane that appears to have had all smooth curves removed in favor of sharp corners is radar invisible probably means you are wrong. Nothing personal, but these two beliefs are logically inconsistant. Either the F-117 is not really a stealth aircraft, or you don't understand how sharp edges affect radar.

On a similar note, comparing the tech required to design a plane to the tech required to scan text is really apples and oranges. The first is pretty much computation fluid dynamics, and is primarily floating-point operations. It also doesn't parallelize very well due to the high I/O requirements between nodes. That's why scientists in the field still like big vector processing Crays instead of SMP machines.

On the other hand, scanning text is entirely an integer problem. It is also easy to parallelize it to a massive scale. You could do it effectively using 8088 PC's if you had to. Just pass each message or packet off to a different node, and each node has it's own copy of the "dictionary" you are searching for. Easy. Note that the report does NOT claim that the NSA has been scanning phone calls for years. Only that they have been scanning text-based communications. It's really easy to build computers to scan huge amounts of text.

So, I don't think you are correct in calling the whole Eschelon report "X-Files" stuff. It's quite resonable to think that they could have built most of this thing using off-the-shelf parts. Or that they could have had custom chips built using standard processes.

Oh, and if you want a more reliable source, some of this stuff was discussed at US Congressional hearings back in the 1970's. At that time, a Congressman likened the NSA to a giant ear which was listening to the world. He also said that if that ear was turned inward, there would be nowhere to hide from it. And this was in the 1970's. If you really belive that the NSA is not sniffing and analyzing every bit of communication that it can get it's hands on, your not looking very hard because it's not really a secret. We are talking about the NSA. Spying on the electronic communications of foreign powers is their job. No one is accusing the Department of Agriculture of spying. It's the NSA. It's what they do. Why do people keep trying to pretend that the NSA isn't doing it's job?

Can't say I'm surprised (1)

lordsutch (14777) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887758)

So much for the argument that "key escrow" would be subject to warrants... this is clear evidence that the U.S. government, and Clinton administration in particular, never had any intention of obeying the laws passed by Congress (never mind the Constitution).

Re:Hey... (1)

Steelehead (14790) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887759)

Paranoia is complete knowledge of your surroundings.

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (5)

garrettdm (14925) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887760)

Ever wonder why the F-117 (the "stealth fighter") is composed of flat panels, all at odd angles? For purposes of stealth aircraft, corners are bad ju-ju.

I realize that this is off topic, but I felt I had to respond...

The f-117, and all of its flat panels are actually based on the "hopeless diamond" design. It is a very angular geometrical shape that is completely invisible to radar. The math behind it was developed by some german scientist.

When placed in a radar test chamber, the f-117 completely disappears. In fact, one of the sticking points in the development of the F-117 was figuring out how to hide the radar cross-section of the pilot's head through the window of the plane. The solution... Coat the window with a transparent film of gold.

So, to sum up, the F-117 design was not due to lack of computing power, but rather the mathematics of stealth.

--David Garrett

It's not all bullshit. (3)

Skinka (15767) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887762)

Some people dismiss news like this as being made up by loony conspiracy-theorists. Sure, a lot of the stuff you hear about the NSA is not true, but you'd be fool to claim that it's all BS.

The NSA budget is estimated to be around 5 billion USD - that buys a shitload hardware and bandwith, i bet the not all of that bandwith is used for reading /. and viewing porn. NSA employs ten's of thousands of people (35000-50000), i bet they aren't all gardeners.

Here a couple of excerpts from the NSA's about-page [nsa.gov]
- "It is said that NSA is one of the largest employers of mathematicians in the United States and perhaps the world. Mathematicians at NSA contribute directly to the two missions of the Agency: they help design cipher systems that will protect the integrity of U.S. information systems while others search for weaknesses in adversaries' codes."
- "The NSA/CSS is responsible for the centralized coordination, direction, and performance of highly specialized technical functions in support of U.S. Government activities to protect U.S. information systems and produce foreign intelligence information."

Now, what do you think the NSA does?

A Quote from the Story (3)

Royster (16042) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887763)

The document went on to detail how the agencies specifically studied Internet data. [...] it said they stored and analyzed Usenet discussions. "In the U.K., the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency maintains a 1-terabyte database containing the previous 90 days of Usenet messages."

Ha! So I guess now they know how to Make Money Fast.

OFF TOPIC (Was: Re:Freedom to bare arms..) (0)

QuMa (19440) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887768)

Not only that, but we also want the right to arm bears

Freedom to bare arms.. (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887770)

For the use to over-throw a corrupt government....

I think this just adds to the fires of american that hate thier own government. I feel this is going be starting point of a revolution IMO.
"Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.

Re:Revolution? (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887771)

Why send it to your elected officails. They were the ones behind the whole deal. If you do, they will know who to kill first. It's all about the money. They are evil, even if they do claim to be christans. They are far from it. It's all about the money. They don't care who they hurt as long as they have the posistion to keep their authority and the place to store the incoming money.

It will soon when the US goes back in time to the 1830's...
"Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.

Re:Freedom to bare arms.. (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887772)

Haven't you noticed that they are trying are trying to slowly remove the access to fire arms?
Think about it people.. Back to the 1930.. Nazi Germany?
"Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.

OFF TOPIC? (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887773)

How is it off the topic. This is about goverment going again what america was out to be... They are hurting individual business's. That is truely un american.
"Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.

Re:Freedom to bare arms.. (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887774)

Smart ass... =>
"Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.

Re:Revolution? (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887775)

The only time I read the new paper is when the Fry's ad is in it..
"Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.

Stealth.. (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887776)

The angles are used to break up the radar signal so it is dispearsed when it is reflected back. What the is recieve isn't complete. Also they use carbon based paint to obsorb the radar signal, also I think it can obsorb laser also.
"Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (0)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887777)

Well the flat peice in the form factor of having alot of corners helps.
"Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.

Re:3 sides to every story (1)

Ellis-D (19919) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887781)

No, the best way to keep a secrete is to make people think you blew it.. Only give bits and pieces of the truth and fill it with fluff and shit..
"Windows 98 Second Edition works and players better than ever." -Microsoft's Home page on Win98SE.

The story of the boy who cried "Wolf!"... (2)

Kaa (21510) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887784)

...should be required reading for you, my dear AC.

Kaa

I feel the whole thing's overblown... (5)

Kaa (21510) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887786)

I don't like key escrow at all and have strong feelings about my own right to privacy. However the article in question is just fluff. Think about it: it is a report generated from the bowels of European bureacracy which has repeatedly proved itself to be totally clueless, and has numerous axes to grind. Basically, the report says two things:

One, the US/UK/etc. intelligence agencies collect data from the world communications network. So? Does this surprise anybody? Didn't we hear about it a zillion times before? Would anybody expect any intelligence agency with proper capabilities to do otherwise? So the UK spooks have a terabyte of Usenet data. Big deal. If I had a terabyte of storage handy I could have it, too. DejaNews likely has much more. Usenet is public forum anyway so I don't see any problems here.

Two, US intelligence agencies use intercepted data for commercial advantage of US companies. Again, this is old news. The report doesn't add any new hard data except some vague allegations that I (at least) have heard before. Airbus has been bitching about being spied upon for years by now.

In any case I don't see what this has to do with key escrow. It was a bad idea, it is a bad idea and it will stay a bad idea. *Of course* the spooks love it, but that's only to be expected and has been demonstrated numerous times before.

So I guess I don't understand what the whole noise is about.

Kaa

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (1)

AT (21754) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887787)

Ah, but who would the NSA have to steal information from? Sun? SGI? HP? Cray? IBM? Do we see a pattern here, like maybe, all of these are U.S.-based companies?

How about Fujitsu, Sony, Hitachi, NEC, Siemens Nixdorf, Bull, Olivetti, Phillips, etc.?

Re:A Quote from the Story (2)

cy (22200) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887789)

.... and 900Gb of porn :-)

use M-x spook? (1)

sporkboy (22212) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887790)

They must love that one.

Also, I tend to shout hello at the satellites that are following me.

Perhaps I'm just crazy though.

wow... (0)

Klaas (22345) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887791)

Just when you think you're just paranoid, all that stuff comes true. A terabyte of usenet? How much space do they have devoted to my email? Maybe the people who say privacy is dead are right. Seems like no matter how many battles we win, there's still something that we don't know about, so the only protection is to be inconspicuous.

um, for the benefit of the bot searching this... I love America! I'm glad all those brave NSA spooks are watching my every move, because what if I were a criminal? Thank you, mr. NSA, I feel so safe.

Klaas

Boy I wish ... (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887792)

...I was a bloated, uncompetitive government subsidized European company, so when I lost business to more competitve companies in other countries I could compain about my failings as sort of government conspiracy.

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (1)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887794)

> If Intel had illegally obtained secrets from
> competitors, don't you think their chips would
> be at least as fast as their competitors?

Ah, but who would the NSA have to steal information from? Sun? SGI? HP? Cray? IBM? Do we see a pattern here, like maybe, all of these are U.S.-based companies?

Aside from that, have you ever heard of Kibo (hi Kibo!)? Your friendly neighborhood snoops (hi guys!) certainly have at least as great an ability to scan usenet as Kibo.

Re:Revolution? (1)

Grandpa_Spaz (29498) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887795)

"...you need to stop watching the X-Files and start reading few more newspapers." Oh... newspapers... that wonderous organ of Truth... Frankly, nowadays, with all of this slant reporting going on, with frequent out-right falsehoods, I find it difficult at times to decide what to believe... which is in part why I DON'T keep up with the news; I figure if it is important enough, someone will say "Hey, did you hear about X?" -G.

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (1)

AKAJack (31058) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887796)

"X-files" paranoia aside I see the point of this article differently.

A competitive advantage is just that - an advantage. It's not "Chariot's of the Gods" or technology from the Greys!

Stealing your competitors secrets is a long established way of getting a business (or military) advantage.

No one is saying that every advantage enjoyed by a U.S. business is because of trade secrets dropped on their desks by the NSA.

It does happen and it probably happens much more than we ever thought.

We (U.S.A.) get pissed when the Chinese and the Isralies steal our nuclear secrets, but it's just "what goes around, comes around."

I know I felt a little uneasy when OJ was tracked down by the cell phone calls he was making. All in just a few minutes. Reading our faxes and our email seems like an easy next step.

Just do and think everything your local government, king, dictator, chairman, tells you do and you won't have any problems in the future.

Re:This is quite an eye opener (2)

remande (31154) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887797)

No need to illegally download it. Straight PGP from NAI is available to our non-US Slashdotters (and indeed anyone outside the US) at http://www.pgpinternational.com [pgpinternational.com] . This is kept in the Netherlands. Code gets there via a legal loophole in the ITAR laws. Specifically, the same encryption that is illegal to export electronically can be exported as source code printed in a book. Print the book, publish it overseas, cut the pages out, scan it, compile it.

IIRC, there are "freeware" versions there for personal use only. These should only use Diffie-Hellman keys rather than RSA keys (and thus be backwards-incompatible, unable to talk to PGP 4.0 and below). Using DH rather than RSA avoids the RSA patent.

Between this and GnuPG, there are now at least two vendors for legal downloads. The NAI stuff described above is sold (with RSA and other things bolted on) as payware; I can personally vouch that it is good compared to most payware. Those who know GnuPG will be able to say if GnuPG is technically better or worse.

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (1)

Izaak (31329) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887798)

Ever wonder why the F-117 (the "stealth fighter") is composed of flat panels, all at odd angles? For purposes of stealth aircraft, corners are bad ju-ju. Yet the F-117 has tons of them. The reason is that the plane was designed in the early 70s, using commonly available technology during that time (not alien tech, as some suggest). They couldn't model curved surfaces on the supercomputers of their day!

Actually, the flat panel design was used because it reduces the radar image. Imagine pointing a flashlight at a mirror. If it is a normal flat mirror tipped at an angle, chances are you won't see the light reflected directly back at you. Now imagine it is one of those curved mirrors like they put at the corners of hallways in some buildings. In this case, you have a very good chance of seeing a (distorted) image of the light from a great many positions. It is roughly the same thing with radar waves and airplane surfaces.

Please flame me with correct information if I am totally wrong on this. :-)

Thad

Duhhh... (0)

Lancer (32120) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887802)

Why else would key escrow exist?

Foolish paranoid theory........ (1)

Lancer (32120) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887803)

SETI@home really NSA plot!

Stop your clients now, boys and girls, because I've deduced that the SETI@home client is really used to decipher and decode all communications, voice, data, and visual that's happened in America in the past 24 hours. Right now, your box is crunching away on the latest drug dealer's cell phone conversation! Stop now, or be sucked into the machine!

OK, I'm laying back down now...

:-)

or (1)

/ (33804) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887806)

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you're not a mongoose.

; chomp; s/mongoose/idiot; print; print "\n"

(1)

/ (33804) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887807)

I knew it! At least the badguys at distributed.net are honest to admit that you're cracking crypto...

Re:Revolution? (1)

zatz (37585) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887812)

I agree about mailing this to elected officials. (Non-US readers too?) There may be a lot of corrupt and dishonest politicians, but some of them really are working for you, and they can't do much about this sort of activity within the government if they don't know about it or don't have any evidence. (I don't think the day to day activities of the NSA are a common topic of discussion in Congress; perhaps they should be.)

Picking up a gun is not the way to make your country better. Don't assume you have no power as a citizen beyond the threat of force; that should be your *last* resort. Realize that the you have much more potential influence over government in the US than the average person in most other countries does over theirs. Speak to your representatives about this, because someone should.

I hope this gets some coverage in the mainstream press, and some real inquiry from our own government.

Try my post below about the report link. Be warned, it looks like a scanned fax.

The NSA isn't responsible for everything... (2)

zatz (37585) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887813)

Hmm. Reading... [mcmail.com] They sound just a little too paranoid to me. The reason so much European traffic is going through Vienna VIRGINIA is not the NSA, or even BGP finding empty routes through the US, exactly... it's because European long distance rates are so high it's cheaper to cross the Atlantic twice!

Correct url for the report (4)

zatz (37585) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887814)

The one in the TechWeb article is slightly mangled... if you didn't figure it out, try this [mcmail.com] .

Check out the May 1999 STOA newsletter [eu.int] for a very quick summary (scroll down a bit). None of it is US authored, AFAICT.

Re:I feel the whole thing's overblown... (1)

Balthasar (40832) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887815)

Two, US intelligence agencies use intercepted data for commercial advantage of US companies.>Again, this is old news. The report doesn't add any new hard data except some vague allegations that I (at least) have heard before. Airbus has been bitching about being spied upon for years by now.


And you don't have a problem with this?? God the very thought that the Australian gov. might be involved in this makes me want to throw molotovs at ASIO.....

3 sides to every story (3)

weave (48069) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887816)

To quote from an excellent CD by Extreme; "There are three sides to every story. Yours, mine, and the truth."

Somehow I think this "finding" is not quite accurate. Why would the US gov blow its wad on leaking confidential data to contractors to give them an advantage? The best part of having a secret is keeping it.

Re:Proud to be an American... (1)

forii (49445) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887818)

I don't think that what clinton did (getting blow jobs from an intern) is the problem here. I think that the problem is instead how the American public is so easily manipulated into believing that privacy should be secondary to security.

If you want to change things, don't rail on against the government, instead help convince the public that privacy is important, that allowing the government more access to our lives is not beneficial, and that these issues do affect them!

//rant
A government is not evil, any more so that a rock, a tree, or any other inanimate object can be evil. It is the people who make up the government that are good or bad, and, because the USA fortunately has a democratic system, these people can be voted in or out of office. Complaining about "the government" doesn't work, and only makes one look like a kook. However, if you complain about individual politicians, convince their constituency to follow your reasoning, and make an effort to support those politicians that share your beliefs, then you'll find that the government will become closer to what you want.

Re:Revolution? (1)

forii (49445) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887819)

"I find it difficult at times to decide what to believe... which is in part why I DON'T keep up with the news"

In other words: "Ignorance is Bliss."

Look, in an environment where the accuracy of information is questionable, you need more information, not less.

Pleez mirror (1)

m|sTaMoFo (50402) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887822)

if someone saved the report, pleez mirror it. Strangely enough, the link is dead....imagine that, a report critcizing echelon being dead....

Re:perhaps I'm wrong, but... (1)

m|sTaMoFo (50402) | more than 15 years ago | (#1887823)

and if you believe what Jane's tells you, I have this letter you can forward to 10 people and get 10,000,000,000 dollars from microsoft....
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