> Charles Brown a while back had some very good things to say about the
> technical problems that implementing fully the National Security Agency,
> Echelon tripwires to monitor e-mail, faxes, cell phone traffic, present
> to the national security state apparatuses. Still, keeping my eye out for
> good info esp. from writers in the Covert Action Quarterly fold on this
> cyber surveillence threat.
one of the totally irritating things about this verbal chaff is that its MAIN impact is to make finding out info about these sys- tems really difficult because it clutters up search mechanisms. like, the ones that *we* use, not the ulttrasuperduper giga-terra systems that intel agencies use. it's the informatic equivalent of shitting all over your kitchen. don't do it. and discourage others from doing it.
second, the heterogeneous nature of 'information'--modified-TIFF fax encodings, flat ASCII, multiple layers of datastreams in TCP/IP, various forms of voice and data telephony, a *serious* hodgepodge of electromagnetic standards, etc.--push the NSA et al. in two very different directions. OT1H, they need technical mechanisms for sorting this mess out; OT0H, they need meta-analyt- ical tools for synthesizing, archiving, analyzing, and querying the resulting output. if they can manage those two tasks (and i think they can), which are pretty damned tall orders, do you REALLY think this rubbish will cause them any problems?
third, it facilitates and propagates misunderstandings about how these sniffing systems actually work. as though the NSA was sitting around with the world's biggest copy of MS Word and hit- ting 'search' then typing in 'bomb.' there's decent info about Echelon etc.: i refer you, for example, to <http://www.jya.com/>, where you will find *years* of archived materials, much of it vetted by people with a pretty serious klew. as to what CB said, snoop around for info on 'semantic trees'--because, funny enough, even the NSA needs to patent its stuff.
fourth, the patterns through which this dreck spreads are far more useful than a bunch of hokum about 'osama bin laden.' all this jam-echelon rubbish was probably extremely useful for purposes of traffic analysis on many, many levels.
fifth, these compilations say a lot more about what the US left imagines the NSA et al. are interested in the what they're really interested in: they're sort of a vaguely left-wing encarta-cum- bestiary-cum-heresiology. they are, in a word, silly.