undersea taps

Eugene.Leitl at lrz.uni-muenchen.de Eugene.Leitl at lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Sun Jun 3 15:03:59 EDT 2001

Military intelligence folks have always been very adept in
playing with the press. By throwing a juicy sausage one after 
another into the kennel, you can keep the dogs chasing their own
tails indefinitely. (It's fun, too, unless you happen to be a dog).

Professional paranoia would seem to require to assume any 
disclosures about spooks' limitations and capabilities to be 
deliberately planted, attempting to hog limited resource (human 
attention span and mentation). An advanced sleight of hand, to 
distract your attention from what is really going on, so to speak.
(Pray pay no attention to the man behind the curtain).

Whether they're really tapping them, or not, and by whatever means,
the sane assumption is that everything that goes out in clear is 
stored for later analysis, if any.

The real issue, of course, is to get strong cryptography deployed
ubiquitously, so that anything intercepted will require considerable
resources (whether man in the middle (by no means academic, if you
control the bulk of the traffic), or breaking a cryptosystem),
and making mass screening for keywords (such as in this mail -- 
welcome to Echelon's database, email is low-bandwidth, and storage
is cheap these days) impractical.

"Perry E. Metzger" wrote:
> To me, it seems reasonably obvious that the targets of undersea
> tapping would not be cables that make landfall in the U.S., but those
> that do not. The point would be to tap lines that travel between two
> non-US landfalls. The US is not a terminus for all the world's
> communications, although it is involved in a surprising fraction of
> international calls...

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