Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping

Patrick Radden Keefe, Author Random House $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6034-4
The secret global information network that has come together under the umbrella name ""Echelon"" is detailed here by Yale Law student Keefe. While Great Britain led the way in the mid-'70s, Keefe marks the U.S., Kenya, Pakistan, Singapore and many others as current participants, taking satellite pictures from 10 miles up, sending submarines to hover silently and aiming portable laser devices to pick up conversations inside rooms. All the technologies are impressive, but the burgeoning mountain of data they produce, Keefe argues, does not always prove useful. Likewise, he illustrates how compact electronics can give the opposition a large ability to deceive the Echelon network, and/or to modify their behavior when they detect that they are under surveillance. Ultimately, Keefe makes a case that electronics have not solved the ancient dilemma of deciphering the enemy's intentions (what he is actually planning) from his capabilities (all the things he could choose to do). To prove his point, Keefe cites the mass of rumor and innuendo that failed to give specific warning of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole as well as Colin Powell's U.N. proclamation that Iraq possessed nerve gas. And, Keefe says, ordinary citizens pay a substantial cost in presumed privacy, as well as in potential for abuses of confidential data. Intelligent and polemical, Keefe's study is sure to spark some political chatter of its own. Agent, Tina Bennett at Janklow & Nesbitt. (On sale Feb. 15)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-8129-6827-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 253 pages - 978-1-58836-533-0
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-5276-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-1829-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7393-1828-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-4159-1650-6
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