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August 30, 2004 Last Updated: February 20, 2005 The truth IS out there.

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from L. Reichard White

Do you like the "A-ha!" experience?

Make private, encrypted phone calls, chat, and send files world-wide --- for free!

A friend of mine was the brains behind the 1980s so-called "Computer Gang" in Las Vegas. After being busted for interstate gambling, a charge that was, as originally predicted, eventually laughed out of court -- my friend was fond of asking folks, "What is the most dangerous object in your home?"

His answer? "The telephone!" -- because it was a phone tap that gave him more than ten years of groundless [1] legal headaches.

Do you believe in Echelon? Do you believe in Carnivore? Have you even heard of them? They are two of the ways that the U.S. Sarkar [2] spies on nearly everyone in the world that sends information over the electromagnetic spectrum in any way. The prototype let the U.S. Sarkar intercept Panamanian Dictator (and Bush crony) Manuel Noreiga's conversations with his Swiss banker back before the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989. [3]

Whether you know it or not however, through CALEA the Federals can listen to your phone conversations anytime they decide to. If you like that idea, skip the rest of this article.

Now we all know it's essential for "national security" for the government to do such things -- after all they told us so. Again, and again, and again, and again - - - - And they never lie, are self-serving, or violate their operating liscense, The United States Constitution.

If that wasn't the case, you might want to learn a bit more about how "your" government spys on "we the people" and how some folks stop them dead in their tracks -- AND make perfectly legal free high quality phone calls to anywhere in the world as well. All you have to do is to Skype OUT!

The Skype package works on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Pocket PC. -February 20, 2005

Here's the full story of how USA Corp. spies on ALL your phone conversations -- and what you can do about it:

The FCC's plans to require Internet-based phone and broadband services to be engineered for easy wiretapping is a response to a request from the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies. The proposal would bring Internet-based phone providers in line with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which requires "telecommunications" carriers to make their networks wiretap-friendly. ... So any easy-to-intercept e-mail you may send from your Wi-Fi-enabled laptop at your friendly neighborhood coffee shop is treated as a radio signal and therefore may not have the same protections under the law that wire and oral communications do. ... And providers are falling in line with the FCC, she says, because the certainty of regulated business minimizes risk. Wiretapping the Web, By Brian Braiker, Newsweek, Updated: 2:18 p.m. ET Aug. 13, 2004 912_clip1
With traditional phone networks, calls are routed through central circuit-switching stations, which connect long-haul phone networks and the wires that go into homes and offices. Typically, phone carriers have installed dedicated servers at or near the switches, which can isolate conversations from a specific phone number and send them to police agencies in a standardized format. It is easier to encrypt digital conversations than those in an analog format, and a growing number of Internet phone providers are encrypting their calls. Unscrambling the calls requires another piece of software.
The biggest challenge, Mr. Tworek and others say, is tracking down phone conversations that are connected by peer-to-peer software. This software essentially piggybacks on the networks of its users; calls are not connected at a central location. To trace such calls, investigators would have to sift through trillions of packets at routers that channel data around Internet networks -a daunting task, industry experts say.
This type of peer-to-peer calling is still emerging, so the threat is rather remote. But some companies that offer this software operate overseas, so they fall outside the jurisdiction of the United States government. The communications commission's recent ruling does not cover this type of peer-to-peer communication. About that challenge, Mr. Tworek could only say, "It's a huge headache." The Call Is Cheap. The Wiretap Is Extra, KEN BELSON, nytimes.com, August 23, 2004 912_clip2
This Slate article "Can They Hear You Now?" How the FBI eavesdrops on Internet phone calls (and why it sometimes can't). By David S. Bennahum
... Thanks to the blistering growth of VoIP?Voice over Internet Protocol?services, which have been adopted by approximately 10 million people worldwide so far, law enforcement officials now worry that wiretapping may one day become technically obsolete. ...I contacted three of the leading VoIP providers in the United States--Time Warner Cable, Vonage, and Skype--to ask them how they would comply with a court order to permit a wiretap. ...
... The alternative, Citron says, is for Vonage to modify its VoIP system so that its digital routers include analog-friendly wires capable of producing a real-time sound wave. These could then be linked to a law enforcement agency, permitting simultaneous listening-in. ...Time Warner Cable, which has announced that it will make VoIP available to all its digital cable markets by the end of the year, would have a much easier time wiretapping live phone calls. That's because Time Warner owns the underlying infrastructure its VoIP service relies on. ... It could, in theory, open a live channel for law enforcement at the place where Time Warner's cable modem signals are routed onto the wider, public Internet. This switch, known as the Cable Modem Termination System, is a natural junction ...
Why, then, couldn't the feds tap any VoIP call by listening in on the line at the CMTS? Because some VoIP calls are routed, digitized, or encrypted in ways that law enforcement can't decipher. Skype, which now boasts 7 million users, specializes in such encryption. The company's system is designed to thwart potential eavesdroppers, legal and otherwise. The difference begins with how the networks are designed: Both Time Warner and Vonage offer VoIP services that run through centralized networks. ... This is a classic instance of a "hub and spoke" network. But Skype, built by the same people who brought us Kazaa, is a totally distributed peer-to-peer network, with no centralized routing computers. ... the company's network looks more like a tangled spider web, and the packets that make up your voice in a Skype call are sent through myriad routes to their destination. ...
Since it's exceedingly difficult to follow the path that a Skype call makes through the network, law enforcement agents would be hard-pressed to figure out where to place a tap. But even if they could, the company has built in such strong encryption that it's all but mathematically impossible with today's best computer technology to decode the scrambled bits into a conversation. Here's how Skype explained it: "Skype uses AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)?also known as Rijndel?which is also used by U.S. government organizations to protect sensitive information. Skype uses 256-bit encryption, which has a total of 1.1 x 1077 possible keys, in order to actively encrypt the data in each Skype call or instant message." ... The National Institute of Science and Technology states that it would take a computer using present-day technology "approximately 149 thousand-billion (149 trillion) years to crack a 128-bit AES key." And that's for the 128-bit version; Skype uses the more "secure" 256-bit standard. ...
Moreover, Skype says, the company does not keep the encryption "keys" that are used to encode each Skype transmission?each one is generated and then discarded by the computer that initiates the call. So government agents couldn't force Skype to turn over the keys needed to decrypt a call either. ...
... Skype, for instance, isn't even an American company. It's legally based in Luxembourg. Increased regulation on American carriers, which could lead to higher costs for consumers, is likely to push people further toward carriers like Skype, rewarding companies that seek permissive legal jurisdictions and punishing those that try to comply with domestic regulations. It's this scenario that the Justice Department legitimately fears: Even though the Patriot Act has increased its ability to eavesdrop on Americans, companies like Skype are giving everyday people unprecedented freedom from government monitoring. - p2p crypto VoIP -Skype, David S. Bennahum, February 25, 2004 912_clip3

So, since we know "our" government never lies, is never self-serving, and never violates it's operating license (The U.S. Constitution), whatever you do, DON'T go to Skype.com!! And if you DO somehow go there, whatever you do, DON'T click on the Download Skype 1.1 link on that page!! And you certainly wouldn't want to click on this link -- or the Download latest version (white print on green background button) - - - because we wouldn't want to distress John Ashcroft, Tom Ridge and his Homeland "Security" nor pressure U.S. corporations to respect our privacy, now would we?

And most of all, we wouldn't want to diss the U.S.A. Patriot Act -- or insult our public servants by implying (by using Skype) that they don't abide by their oaths to obey and uphold the U.S. Constitution - - - -

- - - - now would we?


[1] The charge was that the Computer Gang was bookmaking, that is, taking bets while in actuality, they were making bets -- placing bets with bookies. At that time, it was not illegal to bet, only to take bets. And, as the folks involved used to quip, not without some truth, "We put more bookies out of business than the F.B.I." return

[2] In India, the word public is now a Hindi word. It means people. In Hindi, we have sarkar and public, the government and the people. Inherent in this use is the underlying assumption that the government is quite separate from "the people." Arundhati Roy, Public Power in the Age of Empire return

[3] It's interesting how the U.S. Government managed to convict Noreiga despite what the jury obviously thought were specious charges. return

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