Category Archives: Belgium

Five Eyes, Nine Eyes & 14-Eyes Countries and VPNs Important to know when using (or planning to use) a VPN

The content herein is part of an article published in a VPN site where at the end of this short introduction there will be a link to take you to a lot more viewpoints & info. ENJOY.

This article will discuss available VPNs in relation to the 5 Eyes, the 9 Eyes and the 14 Eyes government surveillance alliances.

Encryption is the only way to protect private communications. While there are encrypted messaging systems that can be used for direct correspondence, virtual private networks (VPNs, also based on encryption) are the best tools for hiding internet activity, such as which websites are visited. Again, there are valid reasons to do so: to protect the privacy of religion, sexual orientation and sensitive medical conditions; all of which can be inferred from visited websites.

Background

During the second world war, US and UK intelligence agencies worked closely on code-breaking. After the war, the UK center at Bletchley Park evolved into the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The American service evolved into the National Security Agency (NSA). In 1946, the working relationship between the two countries was formalized in the UKUSA agreement. It worked on signals intelligence (SIGINT); that is, the interception and analysis of adversarial telecommunications.

In order to provide global coverage for communications interception, Australia, New Zealand and Australia joined the UK and the USA – and became known as the Five Eyes.

However, such is the NSA’s global dominance of intelligence gathering, other countries have sought to cooperate in return for specific ‘threat’ information from the NSA. This has led to other SIGINT groupings: the 9 Eyes and the 14 Eyes.

The operation of these intelligence agencies was long kept secret. As global communications have increased – and as perceived threats have grown (first in the Cold War between east and west and more recently in the ‘war on terror’), the 5 Eyes in particular began to secretly use technology to gather everything for later analysis. GCHQ, for example, had a secret project called Mastering the Internet. None of this was publicly known.

In 2013, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked thousands of top secret NSA and GCHQ documents showing, for the first time, the extent to which national governments spy on everybody. It is always done in the name of ‘national security’, and both the relevant agencies and their governments insist on their right to do so.

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Henry Sapiecha

Paris attacks. Intelligence agencies forced to rethink tracking of Isis

Published on Nov 19, 2015

Western intelligence agencies were forced to rethink their operations and reassess their ability to track Isis yesterday as French officials confirmed the organiser of Friday’s Paris attacks had been operating from under their noses.
Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the 28-year old Belgian jihadi said to have plotted the attacks in the French capital last week — and previously thought to be operating from Isis’s territories in Syria — died during a seven-hour siege in Saint-Denis on Wednesday, authorities said.

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Henry Sapiecha

Smart infrastructure starts with data

aust gov logo white on black

Collecting and managing data is a key component of the infrastructure information revolution. How data is stored and accessed is a question that is vital to the productivity gains that smart infrastructure can bring.

Tomorrow, the Infrastructure and Communications Committee will meet with representatives of the National Archives of Australia.

In its submission, National Archives highlights how Smart ICT is transforming government and industry business models, resulting in the creation and collection of large volumes of data.

Smart ICT technologies include data analytics, optimisation, modelling and software systems, networked sensors, mobile device integration, and new ways of gathering data.

According to National Archives, “Data provides new insights into how infrastructure investments are made, how infrastructure is developed and deployed, maintained and used, what future infrastructure demands might be and where efficiencies might be gained. It also ensures the accountability of government and industry decision-making.”

Committee Chairman Jane Prentice MP (Ryan, Qld) said that collection, storage and accessibility of data have been identified as vital components in the development of smart infrastructure.

“The Committee’s role is to identify what government and industry can do to ensure data is collected and made available in forms that are useful and enduring, and that the data component of infrastructure lasts as long as the steel and concrete it supports,” Mrs Prentice said.

Hearing details

Date: Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Time: 8:00 am–9:00 am

Witness: National Archives of Australia

Venue: Committee Room 1R3, Parliament House, Canberra

The public hearing will be webcast live at http://www.aph.gov.au/live

Further information on the Inquiry, including the full terms of reference and how to prepare a submission can be obtained from the Committee’s website at www.aph.gov.au/ic or from the Secretariat on (02) 6277 2352.

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Henry Sapiecha

Skype summoned to Belgian court over failure to share call data

A page from the Skype website is seen in Lausanne May 10, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

A page from the Skype website is seen in Lausanne May 10, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Online communication service Skype (MSFT.O) has been summoned to appear in court in Belgium after refusing to pass on customer data to aid a criminal investigation, a court spokesman said.

A court in Mechelen, just north of Brussels, had asked for data from messages and calls exchanged on Microsoft-owned Skype, arguing that telecom operators in the country were required to do so.

“The judicial question is whether Skype is also a telecoms operator,” the court spokesman said, adding that Skype would have to pass on the data if this was established to be the case. It could also face a fine.

Skype was not immediately available for comment.

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Henry Sapiecha