hypa has recently adopted a policy of honesty and openness, which is why we now make available much of the important information in our possession. The information below has been released by hypa to media outlets, so it may already have been reported in your local media.


hypa Press Release: 21 November 1997 at 0900 EST

As the instability in the Middle East continues, hypa believes that we should all consider what may happen in the event that the crisis becomes more serious.

hypa can now reveal that despite a long history of denials, the United States Department of Defence has made plans for assuming control of virtually all internet capabilities. The existing plans recognise that this would be a last resort in the event of a "direct, severe and sustained" threat to the national security of the United States. There are three main reasons why the American authorities have developed these plans

The first is that if this plan were implemented military traffic would then have complete use of all available band-width, speeding up their communications at what the military would regard as a crucial time. If parts of the internet's 'backbone' were damaged through violence or electronic sabotage, the aim is that all the free capacity would allow the military communications network to continue functioning correctly and speedily.

There has recently been increasing public awareness regarding the second reason that this plan was developed. The American (and other) governments are aware that some terrorist groups and potentially hostile powers use the internet as a means of secure communication. This includes communicating with agents inside western countries. Therefore limiting use of the internet to US military approved communications would, it is thought, disrupt the plans of enemies and limit the damage they could do. In reality, though, governments also have more traditional means of communication at their disposal.

The third motivation behind this plan is that the threat to take over the internet can be held over the head of the telecommunications industry by the United States government. In discussions this threat is often mentioned obliquely whenever the industry opposes U.S. plans to restrict secure encryption technology.

We are aware that there will be severe criticism of our decision to divulge this information from some quarters. However, it is a decision that was taken lightly. It is our belief that such issues should be discussed openly, even if there is some damage to the national security of the United States done in the process.


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