Factoring in telecommunications industry mergers, it is not difficult
to determine what companies are involved in domestic surveillance today
Wayne Madsen, in an article written for the June 1995 issue of Computer Fraud
& Security Bulletin (Elsevier Advanced Technology Publications), wrote that
"according to well-placed sources within the Federal Government and the
Internet service provider industry, the National Security Agency (NSA) is actively
sniffing several key Internet router and gateway hosts."
Madsen says the NSA concentrates its surveillance on destination and origination
hosts, as well as "sniffing" for specific key words and phrases. He
claims his sources have confirmed that the NSA has contracted with an unnamed
private company to develop the software needed to capture Internet data of interest
to the agency. According to Madsen, the NSA monitors traffic primarily at two
Internet routers controlled by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA), one in College Park, MD (dubbed "Fix East") and another at
NASA Ames Research Center in Sunnyvale, CA ("Fix West"). Other NSA
Internet sniffers, he said, operate at busy routers knows as Mae East (an East
Coast hub), Mae West (a West Coast hub), CIX (reportedly based in San Jose),
and SWAB (a northern Virginia router operated by Bell Atlantic).
Madsen says the NSA may also be monitoring traffic at network access points,
the large Internet gateways operated by regional and long-distance service providers.
The NAPs allegedly under surveillance are in Pennsauken, NJ (operated by Sprint),
Chicago (run by AmeriTech and Bell Communications Research), and San Francisco
(Pacific Bell). "Madsen claims the NSA has deals with Microsoft, Lotus,
and Netscape to prevent anonymous email." "One senior Federal Government
source has reported that NSA has been particularly successful in convincing
key members of the US software industry to cooperate with it in producing software
that makes Internet messages easier for NSA to intercept, and if they are encrypted,
to decode," Madsen wrote.
"A knowledgeable government source claims that the NSA has concluded agreements
with Microsoft, Lotus and Netscape to permit the introduction of the means to
prevent the anonymity of Internet electronic mail, the use of cryptographic
key-escrow, as well as software industry acceptance of the NSA-developed Digital
Signature Standard (DSS)."
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