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Reply: NSA WATCHES THE STANDARDS - Sigint/Surveillance/Denmark
Hi Bill Stewart
First I need to say that I'm very glad to hear that you think our articles
have a high standard. (Its a classic: Journalism <> high standards. I
don't think there's any need to dig further into that discussion in this
But I'm sad to hear that you are dissapointed about the Frame Relay Forum
(FRF) article. I will not try to mend that dissapointment, I will merely
offer an explanation.
In Denmark, the chief of security Jorgen Bo Madsen at our national
telco Tele Danmark stated, that Tele Danmark doesn't have any cooperation
at all with the NSA. But, as the memberlist from FRF shows, this simply
isn't true. They _do_ have some sort of cooperation, and _this_ is the
point of the article. We didn't get that deep into what the NSAs role in
FRF is, I know. Colleen Russell hung up the phone, when Kenan Seeberg
asked her, if they're in it to monitor development of encryption
technologies. But in the context of this article, that's not important.
The important thing is, that Tele Danmark stated, that their hands were
clean - but they weren't.
This is a very important point in Denmark, but - I'm afraid - a lousy
little point, when viewed 'in widescreen' (Europe, US, the world). _Of
course_ it would be multiple times more interesting to find out _what_ the
NSA does to influence development of communications technologies world
I take your word for it, when you say, you haven't seen any improper
influence from the NSA in FRF. Neither have I. As a paranoid journalist
who just may be under the scrutinizing eye of the NSA I could be a wee bit
concerned as to what they get out of their monitoring of the forum.
Now. To your final point. I _do_ want to investigate NSA activity in
standard committees. At the moment I'm researching the influence they have
had on GSM encryptions. (As John Young might see from his log-files I
monitor his site closely to follow up on progress in this area. Of course
I also look elsewhere. I'm digging, I'm digging.)
To all: Any info very appreciated. Especially concerning a meeting that
took place in january 1993:
Quote Intelligence Online 3/3-93:
"According to Intelligence Newsletter sources, an agreement was reached
during the last ten days of January between, on one hand, the United
States (probably NSA or FBI representatives) and Great Britain (probably
GCHQ representatives), and, on the other hand, the EC Technical Committee
95 to reduce the complexity of the A5's 256 byte algorith to a 56 byte A5X
format which is much easier and especially quicker to decypher. This
decision was quickly followed by a British Department of Trade and
Industry statement - which mentioned explicit monitoring by the FBI and
the GCHQ - that British GSM producers such as Vodafone would have to use
the A5X algorithm. At the same time in Switzerland, Natel-D cellphones
were recalled for "technical maintenance" during which the A5 chip was
replaced by an A5X chip.")
And of course I'm _very_ interested in any relevant information concerning
NSA influence on Voice over IP, Voice Over Data and IPSEC.
One large subject I have only seen described in very sparse details is
_what_ they listen for, and _who_ they listen to. Are there any companies
out there, that have been monitored? Any NGOs? Hackers? Arabs? Please come
forward. I have a pgp-key at http://www.datashopper.dk/~boo/pgpkey.txt.
Its RSA 1024. If paranoid, mail me for stronger key.
Bo Elkjaer, Denmark
>>Bevar naturen: Sylt et egern.<<
>>PGP-encrypted mail welcomed and preferred.<<