Feeds

US crypto law cover for industrial spookery

Europe says UK and US steal data to aid home-grown firms. Several Great Satans implicated

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

A clandestine alliance of spooks in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand has been using moves to bring European encryption regulations into line with US crypto law to steal industrial secrets from companies based in the European Union. That's the shocking conclusion of a draft report from the European Parliament's Scientific and Technological Options Assessment committee, released last week. The report alleges Microsoft, Lotus and Netscape were persuaded by the US National Security Agency to modify their software to make versions shipped overseas better able to collect information of interest transmitted across the Internet. The report even claims at least two major French companies, Thompson and Airbus Industrie lost contracts because confidential information was cracked and leaked to rival bidders. The report, revealed on TechWeb, makes for disturbing reading yet manages to sound like something out of a James Bond movie at the same time. So, while the UK/US alliance used its Echelon global espionage network to scan all international communications lines using satellites and listening stations -- the partners also developed a special submarine to sail around earwigging on Internet traffic. The report also claims the UK maintains a database of three months' worth of complete Usenet messages, through which it sorts for useful data using intelligent agent software. US crypto policy has always centred on the use of key escrow to allow law enforcement agencies to bypass encryption algorithms in pursuit of information hidden by criminals. However, in attempting to persuade the EU to align its crypto reulations with the States' own laws, "the US government misled states in the EU and the OECD about the true intention of its policy", claims the report. That "true intention" was to allow spooks to access confidential commercial information for the economic advancement of domestic businesses. The proof, reckons the report, is the lack of police representation in crypto policy making between 1993 and 1997. All this will, of course, fuel a frenzy among conspiracy theorists, but no matter how much UK and US security agencies use the system for tracking genuine terrorist activity -- their justification for monitoring the Net -- bunging stuff toward UK and US companies bidding against European rivals is not on. That said, how many of these allegations stand up -- or are simply claims made by companies who would have lost contracts anyway; it's always easier to blame others than face your own failings -- remains to be seen. But it will be equally difficult to show how frequently confidential commercial data is abused this way. ® See also D Notice MI6 geezer-journalist gets nickers in a twyst Spy leaker accuses Government of hype Web site names UK spies

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.