DRAWING THE LINE
let me get one thing straight, I do not like snooping. Not even
on the French. In fact, I am all in favour of privacy; I judge
it as high as motherhood and apple pie. Hell I even have a pseudonym
and write for a Libertarian site, how much more private can I
get? However, there is one thing thatís really spooking me, whatís
going on in the European Parliament in the name of privacy nuts
like me. A new hysteria is starting to take over the political
classes, and it does not look pretty.
THE ECHELON PROJECT
Ė WHAT THEY CLAIM
carís never done more than three thousand miles, and had a very
careful eighty year old granny as its only owner". It seems that
boosterism is, well, boosted by these people most of all. Not
so, it seems. There are some boosters who do better than any dodgy
chevy dealer could dream of. These people are whoever is behind
Echelon, letís remember, is the spy
that was set up by the dear old National
Security Agency, aided
and abetted by the usual suspects of the Australians,
It is aimed at the internet that Al Gore created. It aims to bug,
pry, spy and do all sorts of nasty things to the Internet This
is not the spectacular thing about it, but it is the claims of
what it can do. It can, we are told, intercept every e-mail
that is sent. It can intelligently screen all these e-mails
and alert the authorities to the most subversive of them. I must
not forget the spectacular enhancement of the bugging prowess
of the NSA. However, we do seem to be forgetting one thing Ė human
THE ECHELON PROJECT
Ė WHAT THEY CAN ACTUALLY DO
idea that human beings can program computers to note every e-mail
of a dubious nature, and screen out enough innocuous e-mails to
not overload the snoopers without missing the important e-mails,
thatís preposterous. Just think about how much e-mail you send,
each day. Then think about how many of these goes to mailing lists,
with each of these e-mails will be created individually. Then
think about how most of our armchair bellyaching about Kosovo,
Europe or Echelon is rather small beer in the scheme of things.
If they are watching us, they are wasting their time; the Internet
cannot be controlled, although I have no doubt that they
want to control it.
If they are watching us, they are missing the French bribers,
the drug smugglers and the cabinet ministers that they are aimed
at. We do not have to worry, and the fact that many of us have
is the triumph of some dodgy software salesmen.
ITíS NOT CIVIL LIBERTIES
an exercise of Soviet propaganda, the EU "Parliament" referred
Echelon to its Civil Liberties committee. Actually look at what
it was reporting on, the inability of French and German companies
to bribe without being found out and being snitching on. This
may be an area that the US has no legitimate interest, after all
it is not American money, but is bribery really a civil liberty?
Even for the Italians?
ARE YOU, OR HAVE YOU
EVER BEEN, AN AMERICAN?
do I need to write this article? I am not trying to start a group
called Libertarians for Snooping or Anti-Interventionists for
Global Spying; nor do I intend to be antiwar.comís resident neo-conservative.
All I want to do is put this into perspective. The European "Parliament"
has commissioned a set of hearings on
the Echelon project.
Is this starting to sound familiar? They have then called "experts"
who seem to be more expert in political posturing than in their
alleged fields of expertise. These experts then denounce the required
evil, and receive the required publicity and attendance expenses.
Are certain eerie similarities coming through? In the end the
committee (the European
Parliament Civil Liberties Committee
- letís call them the High Un-European Affairs Committee Ė or
HUAC for short) produce a report showing that the United States
is ranged against the EU. Not only that but the US can tell when
the average Burgundian blows his nose and, Mon Dieu, they have
willing accomplices at the very heart of Europe, the dastardly
English. Well, if you can not see the similarities yet, then I
am not going to ruin your bliss by telling you, just look at the
title of the piece if you have any doubts.