Sunday, March 04, 2007

Intercepting the Internet

European commission documents obtained reveal plans to require manufacturers and operators to build in "interception interfaces" to the Internet and all future digital communications systems.
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. here could even be several tapping centres listening in at once.
EU ministers are preparing to adopt a convention on Mutual Legal Assistance, including international interception arrangements.

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.

Linx, the London Internet Exchange, is the hub of British Internet communications. 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kind of monitoring approach is based on a world view of telecomms operators which is both technically and economically outdated."
Liberally taken from Caspar Bowden.

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