7 January 1999. Thanks to RS.
UK Telegraph Online, 7 January 1999
Europe plans huge spy web
By Simon Davies
The strategy, which has received widespread support in the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, will oblige all ISPs and telephone exchanges to provide agencies with "real time, full time" access to all communications, regardless of the country of origin.
Current eavesdropping techniques require specific authority to be granted within each individual country so that agencies can monitor pre-designated communications within each jurisdiction. Under the proposed system, Europe will create a "one-stop shop" for snooping on communications. Satellite systems such as Iridium will be forced to create "wiretap-friendly" technology, while ISPs must submit to requirements for interception of content.
The plan was revealed by the German Internet magazine Telepolis, which recently published details of the strategy. The EU has refused to acknowledge the status of the proposal, but it is now known that Enfopol has passed through the Justice and Home Affairs Council to the stage of draft resolution. So far, national parliaments have scarcely been involved.
To the dismay of advocates of strong encryption, Enfopol will function on the principle that all code must be capable of being broken. The Enfopol system will be aided by a "subject tagging" system capable of tracking targets wherever they travel. Known as the "International User Requirements for Interception" (IUR), the tagging system will create a data processing and transmission network that involves not only the names, addresses and phone numbers of targets and associates, but email addresses, credit card details, PINs and passwords.
The move to establish Enfopol follows a five-year lobbying exercise by American agencies such as the FBI. When completed, the system will provide a global interception regime.
But the proposal has infuriated civil liberties and Internet rights organisations. Ian Brown, technology policy director of Privacy International calls, it a "sniper's bullet to the heart of privacy".