Aspectos silenciados sobre de la realidad norteamericana

Sent: Saturday, August 24, 2002 3:38 PM
Subject: [MLL] Computer Surveillance by Political Police

Comrade Thomas,

The following is an article I posted back in November which I believe was
written before 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act which shows that
the US bourgeoisie and their political police continues the political
oppression of dissenters and will not need a court order to conduct this
criminal and illegal activity.

FBI Develops Eavesdropping Tools

.c The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI is going to new lengths to
be sure it can eavesdrop on high-tech communications, secretly building
``Magic Lantern'' software to monitor computer use. Separately, the agency
is urging phone companies to change their networks for more reliable
wiretaps in the digital age. At a conference Nov. 6 in Tucson, Ariz. - and
in a 32-page follow-up letter sent about two weeks ago - the FBI told
leading telecommunications officials that increasing use of Internet-style
data technology to transmit voice calls is frustrating FBI wiretap efforts.
The FBI told companies that it will need access to voice calls sent over
data networks within a few hours in some emergency situations, and that any
interference caused by a wiretap should be imperceptible to avoid tipping
off a person that his calls might be monitored.

The Magic Lantern technology, part of a broad FBI project called ``Cyber
Knight,'' would allow investigators to secretly install over the Internet
powerful eavesdropping software that records every keystroke on a person's
computer, according to people familiar with the effort. The software is
somewhat similar to so-called trojan software already used illegally by some
hackers and corporate spies.

The FBI envisions one day using Magic Lantern to record the secret unlocking
key a person might use to scramble messages or computer files with
encryption software. The bureau has been largely frustrated in efforts to
break open such messages by trying different unlocking combinations
randomly, and officials are increasingly concerned about their ability to
read encrypted messages in criminal or terrorist investigations.

The FBI said in a statement Wednesday that it can not discuss details of its
technical surveillance efforts, though it noted that ``encryption can pose
potentially insurmountable challenges to law enforcement when used in
conjunction with communication or plans for executing serious terrorist and
criminal acts.'' The FBI added that its research is ``always mindful of
constitutional, privacy and commercial equities,'' and that its use of new
technology can be challenged in court and in Congress.

Magic Lantern would largely resolve an important problem with the FBI's
existing monitoring technology, the ``Key Logger System,'' which in the past
has required investigators to sneak into a target's home or business with a
so-called sneak-and-peak warrant and secretly attach the device to a
computer. In contrast, Magic Lantern could be installed over the Internet by
tricking a person into double-clicking an e-mail attachment or by exploiting
some of the same weaknesses in popular commercial software that allow
hackers to break into computers. It's unclear whether Magic Lantern would
transmit keystrokes it records back to the FBI over the Internet or store
the information to be seized later in a raid.

The existence of Magic Lantern was first disclosed by MSNBC. ``If they are
using this kind of program, it would be a highly effective way to bypass any
encryption problems,'' said James E. Gordon, who heads the information
technology practice for Pinkerton Consulting and Investigations Inc. ``Once
they have the keys to the kingdom, they have complete access to anything
that individual is doing.''

At least one antivirus software company, McAfee Corp., contacted the FBI on
Wednesday to ensure its software wouldn't inadvertently detect the bureau's
snooping software and alert a criminal suspect. Experts said the FBI
software could be used with a court order against criminals, terrorists or
foreign spies. People familiar with the project, who spoke only on condition
of anonymity, said the package is being developed at the FBI's electronic
tools laboratory, the same outfit that built the bureau's ``Carnivore''
Internet surveillance technology.

Some experts said Magic Lantern raises important legal questions, such as
whether the FBI would need a wiretap order from a U.S. judge to use the
technology. The government has previously argued that the FBI can capture a
person's computer keystrokes under the authority of a traditional search
warrant, which involves less oversight by the courts. ``It's an open
question whether the covert installation of something on a computer without
a physical entry requires a search warrant,'' said David Sobel, a lawyer
with the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil
liberties group. AP-NY-11-22-01 0234EST

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