wiebes at pscw.uva.nl
Wed Jan 24 14:38:29 EST 2001
For your information.
Dutch defense minister warns other countries have Echelon-type spy networks
Text of report by Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad on 20 January
The Hague, 20 January: Systems used to "bug" telephones, faxes and
e-mail, like the American-British Echelon, are not limited to a few Western
countries. Investigative, security and intelligence services "in countries
of various political complexions" use such systems. Companies and criminal
organizations are also capable of tapping information channels on a large
scale. So wrote Defense Minister De Grave in a memorandum issued on Friday
[19 January], entitled "Large-scale bugging of modern telecommunications
systems", which has been approved by the cabinet. This is the first time
the existence of the Echelon espionage network has been officially
recognized. Rumors to the effect that the United States, Canada, the United
Kingdom and New Zealand have established such a system has never been
formally confirmed by the countries in question.
Investigations by the French and Belgian parliaments, however, indicate
that Echelon does actually exist. The European parliament has also
confirmed, on the basis of scientific reparatory studies, that there is
such a spy network, which allows large-scale reception and filtering of
information conveyed by modern telecommunications systems for subsequent
listening or reading. The network was initially intended to be used to
fight crime and terrorism, but there are fears that the network also serves
the purposes of industrial espionage.
In yesterday's memorandum, De Grave indicated that modern
telecommunications systems are technically vulnerable to bugging
activities. Systems that use the airwaves partially or exclusively are
relatively simple to tap into. The current level of protection is not
always adequate for government purposes, according to Minister De Grave.
However, encryption of information offers a higher level of safety.
Separate protective measures are needed to safeguard special government
information (state secrets, for example) from spying by third parties.
Echelon will be on the agenda of a special session in the Lower House next
Monday [22 January].
Source: NRC Handelsblad, Rotterdam, in Dutch 20 Jan 01 p 2
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