30 April 1999
See Duncan Campbell's report of 30 April 1999: http://jya.com/Ilets-dc2.htm

29 April 1999

From: "Caspar Bowden" <cb@fipr.org>
To: "Ukcrypto (E-mail)" <ukcrypto@maillist.ox.ac.uk>
Subject: Guardian 29/4/99: "Intercepting the Internet"
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 10:52:58 +0100

Intercepting the Internet

A secret international organisation is pushing through law to bring in
eavesdropping points for websites and other forms of digital communication.
Duncan Campbell reports

Thursday April 29, 1999

European commission documents obtained this week reveal plans to require
manufacturers and operators to build in "interception interfaces" to the
Internet and all future digital communications systems. The plans, drafted
by a US-led international organisation of police and security agencies, will
be proposed to EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers at the end of May. They
appear in Enfopol 19, a restricted document leaked to the London-based
Foundation for Information Policy Research

[See: http://www.fipr.org/polarch/enfopol19.html]

The plans require the installation of a network of tapping centres
throughout Europe, operating almost instantly across all national
boundaries, providing access to every kind of communications including the
net and satellites. A German tapping centre could intercept Internet
messages in Britain, or a British detective could listen to Dutch phone
calls. There could even be several tapping centres listening in at once.

Enfopol 19 was agreed by an EU police working party a month ago. It was
condemned last week by the civil liberties committee of the European
Parliament. But the European Parliament will shortly dissolve to face
elections in June. Meanwhile, EU ministers are preparing to adopt a
convention on Mutual Legal Assistance, including international interception

If the Enfopol 19 proposals are enacted, internet service providers (ISPs)
as well as telecommunications network operators face having to install
monitoring equipment or software in their premises in a high security zone.

Ministers were told two months ago that an international committee of
experts regarded new European policy on tapping the internet "as an urgent
necessity". But they will not be told that the policy has been formulated at
hitherto secret meetings of an organisation founded by the FBI. Known as the
International Law Enforcement Telecommunications Seminar (Ilets), police and
security agents from up to 20 countries including Hong Kong, Canada,
Australia and New Zealand have been meeting regularly for seven years.

The Ilets group was founded by the FBI in 1993 after repeatedly failing to
persuade the US Congress to pass a new law requiring manufacturers and
operators to build in a national tapping network, free of charge. Since
then, Ilets has succeeded in having its plans adopted as EU policy and
enacted into national legislation in a growing number of countries.

The group first met at the FBI research and training centre in Quantico,
Virginia, in 1993. The next year, they met in Bonn and agreed a document
called the International Requirements For Interception, or IUR 1.0. Within
two years, the IUR "requirements" had, unacknowledged and word for word,
become the secret official policy of the EU. They became law in the United

In June 1997, the Australian government succeeded in getting the
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to adopt the IUR requirements
as a "priority". It told the ITU that "some countries are in urgent need of
results in this area". Ilets and its experts met again in Dublin, Rome,
Vienna and Madrid in 1997 and 1998, and drew up new "requirements" to
intercept the Internet. Enfopol 19 is the result.

Linx, the London Internet Exchange, is the hub of British Internet
ommunications. According to Keith Mitchell, chairman of Linx: "Anything
along the lines of the Enfopol scheme would probably have astronomical cost
implications. In the event such a scheme was ever implementable, the costs
should be met by the enforcement authorities. Since the industry cannot
afford it, I doubt the public sector could "This kind of monitoring approach
is based on a world view of telecomms operators which is both technically
and economically outdated."