THE MARK OF THE BEAST
by Pietro Arnese - Sept. 1999 (updated Feb. 2000)

One question that I have often asked myself is this:
What will be the spark that will get the world into the "Mark of the Beast" mode?

What is the MARK of the BEAST?

"And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666."
Revelation 13:16-18

MARK= from Greek "CHARAGMA," meaning "a stamp," "an impression," "something etched."

This must be one of the most quoted verses from the Bible, and probably one of the most misquoted and misunderstood, the stuff of legends. It describes a specific action which will be put into effect at a specific time. This much is clear. As of the time and of the action per se, well, that's another story.

What the verse is basically saying is that at some point in time, someone will put into effect a system of personal identification, without which, anybody who will not subscribe to it, will be cut off from any and all commercial transactions: he would not be able to buy food, services and other items, neither could he sell his production, whatever that may be. It does not take a university degree to understand that this will involve a highly computerized and therefore controlled system: no other way or mechanism, would be possible to enforce it, at least at this time. And at this time, for the first time of the recorded history of man, such a system is not only possible, but it is actually being implemented, albeit unconsciously by its proponents.

Certainly, such a novel and revolutionary system will have to look invitingly needed and useful to its takers and while the procedures and technologies for its implementation constitute the outward aspect of the Mark, we must look principally to what really lies behind this project, the spiritual aspect of this event.
When this Mark will be forced on the world population, there will be different responses to it. It is clear that some of those who will take the Mark, will somewhat understand the meaning of their action. Some others will take it because, having repeatedly refused the Gospel, will be unable to distinguish the pit they are falling into, and still others, for fear of starvation and persecution. Indeed, when the time will fully arrive, people will have only two choices: take the Mark or die, (apart from those who will go in hiding, a desperate illusion, at best, but not too unprobable, in many respects).

At that time, however, taking the Mark will be the worst possible choice, since, while it will allow life on earth it will exclude its taker from Eternal Life, and that without remission.

The opportunities of implementing the Mark are and will be many. Be it from a world-wide financial crash, the aftermath of a new world war or to some other global event that will shake the present financial, commercial and otherwise fundamental institutions of the present world, one thing is certain: this universal system will be implemented, it's just a question of time.

Technology-wise, the Mark could be put into effect quite fast. Important scientific discoveries have been pushing "security" (control) technology to incredible peaks, and what is needed at most is a general standardization of the various systems which are already in use. There are so many systems already at work that Mr. Antichrist will have only the embarassment of the choice.

On March 2, 1999 a patent was granted to what could well be the very precursor of the MARK:

Method for verifying human identity during electronic sale transactions

Abstract
A method is presented for facilitating sales transactions by electronic media. A bar code or a design is tattooed on an individual. Before the sales transaction can be consummated, the tattoo is scanned with a scanner. Characteristics about the scanned tattoo are compared to characteristics about other tattoos stored on a computer database in order to verify the identity of the buyer. Once verified, the seller may be authorized to debit the buyer's electronic bank account in order to consummate the transaction. The seller's electronic bank account may be similarly updated.

It seems almost incredible that we are seeing the fulfillment of the prophecy right before our eyes. You can read all about it in the US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE site.

But there is much more happening in the High Tech world we live in. Just read the following article, courtesy of the MSNBC news network (Nov 99):

Is Big Brother spying on you?
Watch Ike Seaman's Special Report   http://www.msnbc.com/local/WTVJ/140469.asp

Imagine your government being able to listen in on every call you make, check every fax you send and find out about your ATM and credit card transactions. Stop imagining. It is not a movie...it’s real. Big Brother– the U.S. government– may be secretly spying on you.

It may sound far-fetched, but it is true. A super-secret hi-tech surveillance system has been in place for years to monitor communications world wide. It is operated by five countries– the U.S., England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Now former spies and others are coming forward to warn that this system may be being used to listen to you.
    From thousands of miles in space, satellites are monitoring every form of communication in the world. They are zeroing in on your phone calls, e-mails, faxes, etc. So who is controlling this super secret surveillance system?... Government spy agencies.
    “This is a giant vacuum cleaner that’s capable of sweeping up essentially all telecommunications,” said Barry Steinhardt of the  American Civil Liberties Union.
    “It’s worse than that. It’s also capable of intercepting all your ATM charges, credit card transactions, anything that is communicated electronically,” added former spy Mike Frost.

Messages are intercepted by a system that looks like something out of a spy novel.
Twenty satellites circle the globe transmitting communications from businesses, government, and people like you. The messages are intercepted by a system that sounds like something from a spy novel.
    It is called ECHELON– a vast worldwide network of eavesdropping stations such as the one in Sabena Seca, Puerto Rico, which was originally built to spy on Cold War enemies.
    It is controlled by the  National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland and is bigger than the FBI and CIA combined.

Many Americans first heard about the NSA’S awesome eavesdropping capability in the movie “Enemy of the State.” In it Gene Hackman warns Will Smith: “The National Security Agency conducts worldwide surveillance: Fax, phones, satellite communications.”
    A growing number of critics charge this potential to invade your privacy is targeting Americans.
    “To say that Big Brother is listening is somewhat of an understatement given the magnitude of what appears to be going on here,” said Rep. Bob Barr, a Republican from Georgia.
    NSA computers scan millions of messages listening for keywords trying to find terrorists, drug dealers and threats to national security. Experts estimate ECHELON also spies on as much as 90 percent of Internet communications.
    Privacy experts such as Wayne Madsen, a former NSA analyst, say if information gathered by high-tech computers such as these are mis-used, innocent people can easily get caught in ECHELON’s web.
    “If you were to say I’m reading a book about the Kennedy assassination right now, the assassination is a key word. It would trigger the ECHELON database,” Madsen, a former NSA analyst, said. “These are innocent conversations that are being analyzed by intelligence operatives.”
    According to Frost, one man was a suspect because an analyst said he repeatedly talked about “bombing.”
    “He wasn’t saying “bombing.” It was an undertaker talking about embalming and this poor guy, we had him listed as a possible terrorist,” said Frost, who was a spy for 19 years. He was trained to use ECHELON for Canada’s secret spy agency, a NSA partner.
    “They can invade your privacy and mine at will,” Frost continued.
    Frost is the first insider to ever talk about the secret eavesdropping system and NBC 6 is the first American television station or network to tell his story. He showed NBC 6 Senior Correspondent Ike Seamans an ECHELON base in Ottawa, Canada which he says can violate anyone’s privacy.
    “It’s being geared toward individuals rather than the enemy. We are now looking at citizens of our own country.”
    Before Congress passed a law to stop it 20 years ago, the NSA routinely spied on Americans, sometimes on orders from presidents. An official familiar with intelligence told NBC 6: “The NSA still targets Americans if national security is threatened. But abuses don’t happen today.”
    Abdeen Jabara says he was not a threat when he led protests against U.S. Middle East policy. But when he sued the government for invasion of privacy– and won– in 1994, he learned the NSA spied on him.
    “For all I know, the NSA still has this material. They have an enormous amount of material that they maintain in computers as a result of this surveillance that has gone on against Americans for many years and I’m just one of them,” said civil rights activist Abdeen Jabara.

The NSA spy base in Menwith Hill, England is the largest in the world. Outside the spy base, using a home satdish aimed at a communications satellite, protesters discovered how easy it is to eavesdrop... on you.
    Congressman Barr, a former CIA analyst, wants a law to force the agency to come clean about spying on Americans.
    “When the intelligence community won’t even come forward and provide us a basic understanding of what they are doing, it certainly makes us suspicious,” Barr said.
    The NSA refuses to confirm or deny anything. James Bamford first revealed the extent of NSA’s spying in the book “The Puzzle Palace.”
    “The NSA is like a black hole. Everything goes in but nothing comes out,” Bamford said. “Yes, they eavesdrop on foreign countries but that is what their job is. The question is– Will the system be turned on the U.S. population? And that’s the big danger.”
    “Big Brother can invade your privacy at will anytime he wants to and you will never know it. And it’s really scary,” Frost warned, “If this isn’t checked in the near future, it’s going to to become a very serious problem.”
    Awareness and now protests are growing. On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union put up a Website called ECHELON Watch to keep it in the public eye. The European Parliament is also charging its citizens are spied upon and wants it stopped. At a high-level briefing in Washington, Seamans offered the NSA an opportunity to talk about ECHELON. He was told, “There are so many allegations about NSA, we can’t confirm or deny the charges.”

There is more ....

THE BIOMETRICS REVOLUTION
Jesse Berst, Editorial Director
ZDNet AnchorDesk

Our ever-frugal Tech Director Jon DeKeles strolled into the office the other day and offered to buy everyone lunch. After I picked myself up off the floor, I demanded to see his ID. Some alien creature had obviously taken control of his body -- lab coat and all.

If AnchorDesk had the latest biometric technology, I wouldn't ask for ID. I'd have voice-authentication software to compare Jon's voice against an earlier voice-capture. Or I'd put him in front of a camera lens to scan his iris and match it against iris codes in the database. The rapidly evolving science of biometrics uses unique physical attributes -- voice, fingerprint, iris -- to identify users. Biometric security products exist now. But it will be another year at least before we start realizing their full potential. Here's a look at where the biometric roadmap will take us:

WHERE WE ARE

Biometrics have been around for decades. The public sector -- particularly military and law enforcement -- were the early adopters. Today public agencies use biometrics for such things as preventing welfare fraud and determining eligibility for health care benefits. But usage outside of government remains spotty, particularly in the enterprise, for several reasons:

Steep prices. Costs range from less than $100 for a basic reading device to thousands for a fully integrated access system. But Gartner Group research director Jackie Fenn says costs are dropping dramatically. That will be key to widespread adoption.
Lack of standards. Integrating biometric systems with mainstream PC technology is a headache IT execs don't need. But there's movement toward standards among consortiums such as BioAPI. (See link below.) Early failures. Vendors admit fingerprint sensor tools introduced last year weren't as robust as they needed to be -- a black mark on a fledgling industry.

WHERE WE'RE GOING

Government will continue to be a hot market for biometric security, but experts see huge potential in the financial community and the medical industry. The security issues that haunt corporate IT and ecommerce make them obvious markets for biometrics too. (For some fascinating biometric applications, see today's Special Report.) (below -ed) Here's how the Gartner Group predicts the biometric emergence will happen:

  • 2000: Full-scale rollout of iris recognition for bank tellers and ATMs
  • 2001: Fingerprint recognition becomes the remote access tool of choice for corporations that adopt biometrics
  • 2002: Iris recognition gains lead over fingerprints for installations serving many users

    SPECIAL REPORT

    There are all manner of fascinating biometric applications already in use. More on the drawing boards. To fathom the possibilities, here are five intriguing examples:

    Airport security. Passengers' facial images are recorded on camera and encoded on boarding passes and baggage tags at Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur airport. Off goes your luggage, you hit the snack bar -- and when you're ready to hop on the plane the system scans your face to verify you are who you say you are. Click for more.

    Catching crooks. A suspect being booked into a Florida jail gets caught lying about his identity. Did an inked fingerprint give him away? Nope. The detention center used biometric tools to catch his lie. Click for more.

    Computer security. Instead of replacing the user name/password log-in system, keystroke dynamics technology measures typing rhythm -- the length of time you hold down each key, plus the time you take to move between keys. Then when you type in your user name and password, the software compares your typing rhythm with your profile. Click for more.

    Getting money. Ever pull up to the ATM -- and suddenly go blank on your PIN number? Customers of Nationwide Building Society in England may get their money anyway. The financial institution has piloted an iris recognition system at ATMs and the counter of one of its branches. A camera takes a digital record of each user's iris, which is the colored portion of the eye. The iris print is stored in a database and used to verify identity during transactions. Click for more.

    Who goes there? Key cards and badges and all the other accoutrements of high-security buildings may be history due to face recognition products. There are two types; one compares feature sizes and relationships such as the length of your nose or distance between your eyes. The other matches your most significant image data, such as size of nose, with a record stored in a database. Click for more.

  • WE'RE GETTING THERE
    Slowly but surely, we are advancing into the Mark of the Beast time. All the scoffers at the Bible and at Christianity in general, will soon experience upon their own skin (literally) what it means to ignore the Word of God. The various prophecies related to the Mark were made two millennia ago, and they are now finding their fulfillment. Why did it take so long? For one thing, God does not measure time as we do. He is Eternal, He is ALWAYS. But we can and should be grateful of the time we have been allowed, both personally and for reaching out to others.

    We will incessantly warn all, both Christians and others of what is coming up. We are not asking to be believed just because we say it. We invite people to be intelligent, to examine what the Scriptures say, and to compare that with what is happening. Case in point, just read this article and wander!

    New technology getting
    under some people's skin

    By Jon E. Dougherty
    © 1999 WorldNetDaily.com

    Researchers say the technology is currently available to implant biometric devices in human beings, which can be monitored by government satellites and utilized by private industry. In fact some developers are currently attempting to bring the technology to the public and private sector.

    Though not yet generally available to the public, trials of sub-skin implants have been underway for nearly a year. For instance, The London Times reported in October 1998, "... Film stars and the children of millionaires are among 45 people, including several Britons, who have been approached and fitted with the chips (called the Sky Eye) in secret tests."

    Critics, however, are worried about the increased support such devices are receiving because of the inherent risk to individual privacy. They contend that several governments, including the U.S., possess the ability to monitor such devices and, as a consequence, the people who have them -- even though they may not be wanted for a crime, listed as a missing person, or considered dangerous in any way.

    A recent study of microchip implantation technology, written by Elaine M. Ramish for the Franklin Pierce Law Center, examined at length the ethical issue of privacy, which engulfs every debate surrounding implanted biometric devices. The study provided details about current research and development as well as marketing plans developers are likely to use to "sell" the idea to a generally skeptical American public and U.S. Congress.

    In her study, though, Ramish said she believes the implementation of such devices will eventually become a reality despite their controversial identification role. But, she said, the concept is not a new one; other researchers have advocated the widespread use of biometric identification devices as early as 1967.

    "Although microchip implantation might be introduced as a voluntary procedure, in time, there will be pressure to make it mandatory," Ramish wrote in her research paper entitled, "Time Enough? Consequences of Human Microchip Implantation."

    "A national identification system via microchip implants could be achieved in two stages," she said. "Upon introduction as a voluntary system, the microchip implantation will appear to be palatable. After there is a familiarity with the procedure and a knowledge of its benefits, implantation would be mandatory." Indeed, of the test cases in Great Britain, so far benefactors have reported no negative consequences.

    Ramish believes that "legislative protection(s) for individual rights" should be enacted by Congress and signed into law before any such devices could be brought to market.

    In her paper, Ramish said recent polls have found that if guaranteed certain privacy protections, the number of Americans who would be willing to accept a medical information implant "rose by 11 percent." Such tracking devices have already been available to pet owners for nearly ten years, and biometric devices such as fingerprint scanners are quietly making their way into the public sector.

    Ramish noted that a few U.S. firms were already developing, or had developed, implantable biometric devices capable of "read only, read-write and read-write with tracking" abilities. IBM, Hughes Aircraft, and Dallas Semiconductor are among several firms Ramish said currently were working to develop such systems, but none of them returned phone calls for comment from WorldNetDaily.

    A spokesman for Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, also declined to comment on the possibility that someday Congress may be faced with the decision to mandate the implementation of such technology.

    Though Smith is head of the House Ethics Committee -- a committee that normally examines only the ethical behavior of other House members -- his spokesman declined to say how Smith personally felt about the implementation of biometric technology in humans.

    "He (Smith) has never addressed that issue," the spokesman said.

    A spokesman for Democratic presidential nominee candidate and former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley told WorldNetDaily his boss, too, had never considered the possibility nor thought about the ramifications of personal privacy.

    But George Getz, the communications director for the Libertarian Party, said party director Steve Dasbach "has considered the issue of privacy on many occasions."

    "In fact," he said, "that's one issue we consistently address as Libertarians."

    Getz said to the extent that this procedure is voluntary, "there certainly shouldn't be a law against it, because Libertarians believe that individuals, rather than the government, should have sole control over their own bodies."

    "But the concept of government-mandated microchip implants is reprehensible," he added.

    Getz said he believes the inevitability of such a device lies in "the government's ability to make living a normal life without one impossible." Though the chip implantation procedure might legally remain "voluntary," he said it's very likely that government at all levels would eventually force everyone to have one.

    "After all, the government has never forced anyone to have a driver license," he said. "But try getting along without one, when everyone from your local banker to the car rental man to the hotel operator to the grocery store requires one in order for you to take advantage of their services."

    "That amounts to a de facto mandate," he said. "If the government can force you to surrender your fingerprints to get a drivers license, why can't it force you to get a computer chip implant? These are differences in degree, not in kind -- which is why it's essential to fight government privacy invasions from the outset."

    A spokesman for the House Science and Technology Committee, who requested anonymity, told WorldNetDaily that indeed the committee has "looked into the question of biometrics and the use of such technology on society." He said at present, however, no legislation requiring or permitting the use of such devices in humans is being considered in the House.

    "We've looked at the issue across the board -- whether to fight fraud, fight crime, improve safety," he said, "but as far as this particular use of biometrics, I don't think we've ever really addressed it."

    Not everyone is opposed to the idea, however.

    Amitai Etzioni, Director of a group known as the Communitarian Network and a professor of Sociology at George Washington University, believes there are definite benefits to society using biometric technology.

    In an article published recently, Etzioni -- who has written extensively on the issue of privacy -- said, "Opposition to these new technologies is particularly troubling given that the benefits are considerable."

    "Once biometric devices are more fully developed, and as unit costs decline ... a person may forget his password, pin number and access code, and leave his ID card and keys at home," wrote Etzioni.

    A spokesman on science and technology issues at the Communitarian Network, who also requested anonymity, confirmed that the organization -- and Mr. Etzioni specifically -- "has done extensive work on researching the benefits to society of biometric technology."

    "Communities ... stand to reap considerable benefits," said Etzioni. "Once biometric devices are widely deployed, they will make it much more difficult for the estimated 330,000 criminals to remain on the lam. These fugitives not only avoid trial and incarceration but also often commit additional crimes while they roam the country with little concern."

    The group also expresses support for all forms of biometric technology -- from scanners to implants -- as a way to increase benefits to child care facilities, decrease losses to businesses, and protect Americans who now fall prey to identity theft.




    Jon E. Dougherty is a senior writer and columnist for WorldNetDaily, as well as a morning co-host of Daybreak America.

    And more ....

    TINY HUMAN-BORNE MONITORING DEVICE SPARKS PRIVACY FEARS
    December 20, 1999 By Richard Stenger CNN Interactive Writer Washington (CNN)

    A Palm Beach, Florida-based telecommunications company has developed a miniature digital monitoring device that can be implanted in people, intended to assist in locating missing children or for monitoring the heart rate of at-risk patients. But electronic freedom activists are concerned about exploitation of the technology, which would use global positioning system (GPS) technology to track implantees.  "It sounds dreadful. That's about as bad as it gets," Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, said Monday.

    Applied Digital Solutions announced last week it had acquired patent rights to develop the unique transceiver, which would be powered by muscle movements of implantees.  The company plans to complete a working prototype by the end of 2000.  Planted inconspicuously just under the skin, the implantable transceiver sends and receives data and can be continuously tracked by GPS technology.  The company expects applications in the fields of law enforcement, security and medicine.

    According to ADS, a company with an Internet and e-commerce focus, the devise could track lost hikers, abducted children and "military, diplomatic and other essential government personnel." It can also identify individuals for e-business security and check certain biological functions and alert a monitoring facility if it detects a medical emergency.  "We believe its potential for improving individual and e-business security and enhancing the quality of life for millions of people is virtually limitless," said ADS Chairman and CEO Richard Sullivan in a statement.

    Fearing that "virtually limitless" potential, critics contend that monitoring systems wind up being used for other than the original purposes.  "Over the years we moved from fingerprinting convicts to routinely footprinting infants in hospitals," Rotenberg said.  He worries that this new surveillance technology could eventually restrict freedoms of the general public.  "I think the use of implants for tracking is crossing into a new territory," Rotenberg said.  "It gets us closer to an Orwellian '1984.'"

    Patent documents refer to the device as a "personal tracking and recovery system."  But ADS said the device, named the Digital Angel, could also have non-human applications.  For example, it could be secretly hidden on or in valuable personal belongings and works of art.  ADS said the technology could "tap into a vast global market" that is expected to eventually exceed $100 billion.

    And then there is the INTERNET.

    The system we know as Internet is enjoying a meteoric growth rate and diffusion in all parts of the world. It has been established that internet is the fastest growing technology in the history of man. The why's as to the incredible success, are quite evident even to the most disenchanted follower of "progress." Never, there has been such an almost universal medium of communication and exchange of ideas and of late, of goods and services. Apart from the universality and immediacy of it, what appeals to the Big Players, is the inherent cost-cutting factors which internet is capable of, and which go from the gradual elimination of the middle-man-storefront to a total automatic order-and-deliver system. While this smacks of anti socialism and depersonalization, money talks. Today, in the confort of our living room, we can order the latest book, record, software, or whatever, and have some of these items instantly available at our disposal. Why, even some supermarket chains have been selling their wares on internet, with a "within-one-hour" promise of goods delivered within their local zone. Truly, all this is fascinating and bewildering. Personally, I prefer to look and inspect the apples I am buying, but I concede that others may not care as much. And let's not forget that INTERNET is yet in its infancy. Nobody is really able to tell in which direction it will evolve, since its chaotically incredible progress stupefies its very movers and shakers.

    Still, there is another aspect of the internet which we must examine. This aspect has not been much publicized, but, believe me, it is the most important part of the whole system, and though hidden to most, it is the part that is getting the most attention by the various governments all over the earth, from Albania, to Zaire. Wow, finally there is a definite way to watch and control a population. All those neat, invisible digital bits and bytes, stored safely in secure databases, and which will (are) able to spew out the story of your life, at the stroke of a keyboard! Am I being conspiracy-deluded? Hardly! These things have been going on for sometime, and there is ample documentation, should anybody care to research. How do you think you are being targeted for by particular ads? If you use a credit card, if you buy something on internet, if you just surf the internet, you leave traces, and these traces are being monitored and catalogued. And I don't mean by your provider, who could easily monitor all your surfing and emails, and neither by those ubiquitous and obnoxious cookies which uninvited, take residence in your computer while you surf. No, I don't mean that at all. This goes on all the time and a lot of people are aware of it. But there is another kind of monitoring going on, on a different level and on which we have reported in the past: it is the high-level snooping operated by the various "intelligence" governmental, semi-governmental (and private) agencies. The report below, gives insight on what is happening, quietly and by stealth.

    Intercepting the Internet

    A secret international organisation is pushing through law to bring in eavesdropping points for websites and other forms of digital communication. Duncan Campbell reports

    Thursday April 29, 1999

    European commission documents obtained this week reveal plans to require manufacturers and operators to build in "interception interfaces" to the Internet and all future digital communications systems. The plans, drafted by a US-led international organisation of police and security agencies, will be proposed to EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers at the end of May. They appear in Enfopol 19, a restricted document leaked to the London-based Foundation for Information Policy Research

    The plans require the installation of a network of tapping centres throughout Europe, operating almost instantly across all national boundaries, providing access to every kind of communications including the net and satellites. A German tapping centre could intercept Internet messages in Britain, or a British detective could listen to Dutch phone calls. There could even be several tapping centres listening in at once.

    Enfopol 19 was agreed by an EU police working party a month ago. It was condemned last week by the civil liberties committee of the European Parliament. But the European Parliament will shortly dissolve to face elections in June. Meanwhile, EU ministers are preparing to adopt a convention on Mutual Legal Assistance, including international interception arrangements.

    If the Enfopol 19 proposals are enacted, internet service providers (ISPs) as well as telecommunications network operators face having to install monitoring equipment or software in their premises in a high security zone.

    Ministers were told two months ago that an international committee of experts regarded new European policy on tapping the internet "as an urgent necessity". But they will not be told that the policy has been formulated at hitherto secret meetings of an organisation founded by the FBI. Known as the International Law Enforcement Telecommunications Seminar (Ilets), police and security agents from up to 20 countries including Hong Kong, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have been meeting regularly for seven years.

    The Ilets group was founded by the FBI in 1993 after repeatedly failing to persuade the US Congress to pass a new law requiring manufacturers and operators to build in a national tapping network, free of charge. Since then, Ilets has succeeded in having its plans adopted as EU policy and enacted into national legislation in a growing number of countries.

    The group first met at the FBI research and training centre in Quantico, Virginia, in 1993. The next year, they met in Bonn and agreed a document called the International Requirements For Interception, or IUR 1.0. Within two years, the IUR "requirements" had, unacknowledged and word for word, become the secret official policy of the EU. They became law in the United States.

    In June 1997, the Australian government succeeded in getting the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to adopt the IUR requirements as a "priority". It told the ITU that "some countries are in urgent need of results in this area". Ilets and its experts met again in Dublin, Rome, Vienna and Madrid in 1997 and 1998, and drew up new "requirements" to intercept the Internet. Enfopol 19 is the result.

    Linx, the London Internet Exchange, is the hub of British Internet communications. According to Keith Mitchell, chairman of Linx: "Anything along the lines of the Enfopol scheme would probably have astronomical cost implications. In the event such a scheme was ever implementable, the costs should be met by the enforcement authorities. Since the industry cannot afford it, I doubt the public sector could "This kind of monitoring approach is based on a world view of telecomms operators which is both technically and economically outdated."

    • Duncan Campbell is a freelance writer and broadcaster and not the Guardian's staff correspondent of the same name

    What to say then of MICROSOFT? Like it or not, their software is the most widespread on earth. It is calculated than over 80% of personal computers in the world run their dubious OS (windows, msdos, nt). Apart from their troubles with the US government regarding their monopolistic way of conducting their business, many disquiting elements have been surfacing lately about their software. Since there are too many items regarding this facet of Microsoft's conduct, I will just point to three of them:

    1) the discovery that their Nt software, when used within an Ethernet ambient, was collecting private information from the companies running it and delivering the info directly to Microsoft's headquarters. When found out, Microsoft came forth with the same silly reply that they use regularly: they were just doing it to improve their product.

    2) the discovery that their lead program WORD was, unknowingly to its users, marking any document it produced, so as to render its author identifiable.

    3) and the latest discovered dirty trick: a secret key in their OS, to allow the NSA to decrypt any encrypted document they want in any computer in the world. So much for privacy, and so much for Microsoft.

    Microsoft Installs US Spy Agency with Windows Research
    Triangle Park, NC - 31 August 1999

    Between Hotmail hacks and browser bugs, Microsoft has a dismal track record in computer security. Most of us accept these minor security flaws and go on with life. But how is an IT manager to feel when they learn that in every copy of Windows sold, Microsoft may have installed a 'back door' for the National Security Agency (NSA - the USA's spy agency) making it orders of magnitude easier for the US government to access their computers?

    While investigating the security subsystems of WindowsNT4, Cryptonym's Chief Scientist Andrew Fernandes discovered exactly that - a back door for the NSA in every copy of Win95/98/NT4 and Windows2000. Building on the work of Nicko van Someren (NCipher), and Adi Shamir (the 'S' in 'RSA'), Andrew was investigating Microsoft's "CryptoAPI" architecture for security flaws. Since the CryptoAPI is the fundamental building block of cryptographic security in Windows, any flaw in it would open Windows to electronic attack.

    Normally, Windows components are stripped of identifying information. If the computer is calculating "number_of_hours = 24 * number_of_days", the only thing a human can understand is that the computer is multiplying "a = 24 * b". Without the symbols "number_of_hours" and "number_of_days", we may have no idea what 'a' and 'b' stand for, or even that they calculate units of time.

    In the CryptoAPI system, it was well known that Windows used special numbers called "cryptographic public keys" to verify the integrity of a CryptoAPI component before using that component's services. In other words, programmers already knew that windows performed the calculation "component_validity = crypto_verify(23479237498234...,crypto_component)", but no-one knew exactly what the cryptographic key "23479237498234..." meant semantically.

    Then came WindowsNT4's Service Pack 5. In this service release of software from Microsoft, the company crucially forgot to remove the symbolic information identifying the security components. It turns out that there are really two keys used by Windows; the first belongs to Microsoft, and it allows them to securely load CryptoAPI services; the second belongs to the NSA. That means that the NSA can also securely load CryptoAPI services... on your machine, and without your authorization.

    The result is that it is tremendously easier for the NSA to load unauthorized security services on all copies of Microsoft Windows, and once these security services are loaded, they can effectively compromise your entire operating system. For non-American IT managers relying on WinNT to operate highly secure data centers, this find is worrying. The US government is currently making it as difficult as possible for "strong" crypto to be used outside of the US; that they have also installed a cryptographic back-door in the world's most abundant operating system should send a strong message to foreign IT managers.

    There is good news among the bad, however. It turns out that there is a flaw in the way the "crypto_verify" function is implemented. Because of the way the crypto verification occurs, users can easily eliminate or replace the NSA key from the operating system without modifying any of Microsoft's original components. Since the NSA key is easily replaced, it means that non-US companies are free to install "strong" crypto services into Windows, without Microsoft's or the NSA's approval. Thus the NSA has effectively removed export control of "strong" crypto from Windows. A demonstration program that replaces the NSA key can be found on Cryptonym's website here

    Interview Contact: Andrew Fernandes
    Telephone: +1 919 469 4714
    email: andrew@cryptonym.com
    Fax: +1 919 469 8708
    Cryptonym Corporation 1695 Lincolnshire Boulevard Mississauga, Ontario Canada L5E 2T2

    An observing person can quickly realize that something is afoot, Bible or nor withstanding. However, to a Christian, all this has a very particular and real meaning, because of the prophecy involved. As we embark upon this last journey of the human saga, I just ask non believers to consider these facts rationally, and to be observant. Certainly there is a power group that wants to bring about this control upon the earth. It has long been the dream of secret and not-so secret societies to manipulate and influence the destiny of men. However, the real battle here is spiritual and the outcome is already determined, whether one may like to think so or not.

    To some, this prophecy is a call to attention, to others, a call to action, and still to others, a call to scorn and disregard. But God will not be scorned, neither will He be disregarded. In His kindness, He has warned humanity of what is to come so those who will, can be ready for the storm when it arrives and those who will not (listen to the warning), will be swallowed by it.

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       Original article: Apocalypse Soon
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