30 January 2000. Thanks to WM.
Translation of an article in Helsingin Sanomat, the largest Scandinavian Newspaper (readers about 2.5 million), on Saturday January 29th, 2000 (front page article). Translation courtesy of Juhani Saari, International Baseline Security Oy, Kauniainen, Finland.
Brussels. The United States and it's intelligence allies are committing wide and organized electronic spying within EU-area, can be read from a report, the information of which has leaked in advance. The report has just been prepared to the European Union Parliament.
The subject of the report is the Echelon spying system, run by the USA and UK. According to the Belgium Le Soir magazine, the aim of the report is to disclose that the USA systematically acquires information from the EU-area by breaking encryption programs, by controlling the Internet and by listening to telephones.
The subject is not a new one, as the USA and the UK established the Echelon system in 1947. According to the report, the CIA, NSA and the US Foreign Trade Ministry have since 1977 systematically traced economical information, which interests US companies, located outside the USA.
In special control are fixed phones, mobile phones, satellite phones, faxes and e-mail systems that are connected to economical and political communication service.
To sudy this huge amount of traffic, they use a program called N-gram, which can be arranged to search traffic which includes specific words and combinations of words, especially in several Internet junctions.
The report also claims, that the USA can easily break encrypted secret messages, which move through browser programs sold abroad by Microsoft and Netscape.
The EU-Commission that uses the executive power within EU did not want to comment on these claims yesterday because as the "report has not been officially introduced to the EU-Parliament and EU-Commission."
The spokeperson of Commissioner Antorio Vitorino, Leonello Gabrici admitted, however, that if this is true, the matter is really serious. According to him, the presence of secret (intelligent) services is as such no secret, and controlling them is not a EU-Commission issue.
The matter was investigated last time in 1998. Then EU-Commissioner Martin Bangeman decided that there was not enough evidence of spying. Bangeman added, however, that if the system were actually functioning, it would be an impermissable attack against personal privacy, free competition between companies and security of nations.
There have also been requests in the Finnish Parliament concerning the Echelon system. Parliament member Pentti Tiusanen wanted to know in June 1998 whether Finland is involved in this system. The minister of interior, Jan-Erik Enestam mentioned in his writen answer, that Finland is not. He defined Echelon to be a system between NSA's (USA), GCHQ's (UK), CSE's (Canada), DSD's (Australia) and GCSB's (New Zealand) signal intelligence services.
The expert report will be given to the European Parliament on February 22nd 2000.
Cryptome note: The referenced report appears to be that prepared for the European Parliament in April, 1999: "Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information (an appraisal of technologies of political control)."
Part 1: "The perception of economic risks arising from the potential vulnerability of electronic commercial media to interception - Survey of opinions of experts. Interim Study," by Nikos Bogonikolos: http://cryptome.org/dst-1.htm
Part 2: "The legality of the interception of electronic communications: A concise survey of the principal legal issues and instruments under international, European and national law," by Prof. Chris Elliott: http://cryptome.org/dst-2.htm
Part 3: "Encryption and cryptosystems in electronic surveillance: a survey of the technology assessment issues," by Dr. Franck Leprévost:
Part 4: "The state of the art in Communications Intelligence (COMINT) of automated processing for intelligence purposes of intercepted broadband multi-language leased or common carrier systems, and its applicability to COMINT targeting and selection, including speech recognition," by Duncan Campbell: http://www.iptvreports.mcmail.com/stoa_cover.htm