1998-08-12 - RE: Internet is rickety

Header Data

From: “Brown, R Ken” <brownrk1@texaco.com>
To: “Vladimir Z. Nuri” <mgraffam@mhv.net>
Message Hash: 2f2a00c6d10c0d40137e713a42abeaa885dc46926c1cbfe86f54a14da552b5c2
Message ID: <896C7C3540C3D111AB9F00805FA78CE2013F833E@MSX11002>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1998-08-12 10:37:13 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 03:37:13 -0700 (PDT)

Raw message

From: "Brown, R Ken" <brownrk1@texaco.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 1998 03:37:13 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Vladimir Z. Nuri" <mgraffam@mhv.net>
Subject: RE: Internet is rickety
Message-ID: <896C7C3540C3D111AB9F00805FA78CE2013F833E@MSX11002>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

> mgraffam@mhv.net[SMTP:mgraffam@mhv.net] wrote:
[this is heavily snipped to save bandwidth]

> I am aware of the allegations, yes. I would not be surprised if
> they [the NSA] use this tactic. If I were in their position,
> and my job were to at least try to read every message sent by 
> > every foreign  government 
I think you have missed the point.  It's not that they are
reading messages sent by foreign governments. They 
are reading - at least potentially - all the messages
sent by their own citizens.  Effectively all Internet messages
that pass through North America are monitored.
All international phone calls are monitored
and I would guess that internal  US ones are as well, 
although there is not puch published  on that.

Some US citizens (I am not one) seem to have a touching
faith in the idea that the CIA and NSA will not spy on 
US citizens because it isn't in the powers given to them.   
If they are that scrupulous then they would just have
to get the data from their friends in GCHQ who have
no such constitutional limitation and are certainly
in a position to monitor most international phone calls
and Net traffic originating in the USA.

Like they said on the BBC a few weeks ago the 
"worst kept secret" in Whitehall is that NSA  and GCHQ 
together have been tapping *all* the electronic
communications passing through the UK and
have been sharing the data with each other since the war.
(with GCHQ being rumoured to give far more to NSA
than the other way round)  And if they behave like that 
in the UK why not in the US?

> I suspect I would
> try very hard to limit the amount of strong crypto that these
> governments have.

But they haven't managed to do that. And it isn't
really what they want to do. They want to limit the 
strong crypto available to *you* because they want to read 
*your* mail. (Why would they want to do that - see
this mailing list /passim/ for the last 5 years or so -
it's so full of ideas and rants on the subject that
some of them have to be right if only at  random :-)

Like I said my government - the UK - has a deal with your
government - the US - that allows your government
to tap my phone calls and read my email. And it works the
other way round as well. If you phone anyone outside the
US or send any other kind of electronic messages outside
the US or that pass through or near a GCHQ  station 
then my government will listen to you  with the 
connivance and encouragement  of your government.
Far from keeping your communications secret your
government is actually paying foreigners to tap them.

Look at a map of undersea cables some time - then compare it
with a map of British and Commonwealth military
bases - like Gibraltar, Malta, Diego Garcia, Ascencion Island,
Cyprus, St. Helena, the Falklands - your lot have a similar
setup in the Pacific, and the Ozzies and Kiwis look after the 
south-west Pacific and southern ocean.  Over half the Internet 
traffic in the  world passes through Falls Church, Virginia. Why are
there so many US diplomats and British military in Kenya?
And what *do* they do at Menwith Hill and Goonhilly Down?

Now I'm wasting bandwidth - becaus of course  everyone
who reads Cypherpunks knows all this stuff already.

> This may mean limiting the amount of crypto
> that the citizens of the U.S. have. So be it then. The NSA
> does not have the job of ensuring unbreakable kick-ass privacy
> and crypto to the public. 

> Their job is to read the Other Guy's messages, 
> and to make sure the Other Guy can't read Uncle Sam's
> messages. We speculate that they do both reasonably well.

And *you* *are* the Other Guy.
Wake up and smell the static.

> Selling me a champion racehorse for $1 is a
> damn good deal, and it is worth the money.. 
> but I don't have much  use for a horse.

I'll buy her off you for 1 dollars and 50 Belgian Francs
 - now you've made a profit :-)

Ken Brown (usual disclaimers apply)