Echelon Interception System is spying on us
Have you ever wondered if what you know about Echelon spying on us is accurate? Consider the following paragraphs and compare what you know to the latest info on Echelon spying on us.
If you find yourself confused by what you've read to this point, don't despair. Everything should be crystal clear by the time you finish.
Rumors have abounded for several years of a massive system designed to intercept virtually all email and fax traffic in the world and subject it to automated analysis, despite laws in many nations (including this one) barring such activity. The laws were circumvented by a mutual pact among five nations. It's illegal for the United States to spy on it's citizens. Likewise the same for Great Britain. But under the terms of the UKUSA agreement, Britain spies on Americans and America spies on British citizens and the two groups trade data. Technically, it may be legal, but the intent to evade the spirit of the laws protecting the citizens of those two nations is clear.
The system is called ECHELON, and had been rumored to be in development since 1947, the result of the UKUSA treaty signed by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The purpose of the UKUSA agreement was to create a single vast global intelligence organization sharing common goals and a common agenda, spying on the world and sharing the data. The uniformity of operation is such that NSA operatives from Fort Meade could work from Menwith Hill to intercept local communications without either nation having to formally approve or disclose the interception.
ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UK-USA Security Agreement (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, known as AUSCANZUKUS). It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.
Now you can understand why there's a growing interest in Echelon spying on us. When people start looking for more information about Echelon spying on us, you'll be in a position to meet their needs.
What is ECHELON used for?
With the exposure of the APEC scandal, however, ECHELON's capabilities have come under renewed scrutiny and criticism by many nations. Although not directly implicated in the bugging of the Asia Pacific Economic Conference in Seattle, the use of so many U.S. Intelligence agencies to bug the conference for the purpose of providing commercial secrets to DNC donors raised the very real possability that ECHELON's all-hearing ears were prying corporate secrets loose for the advantage of the favored few. Given that real terrorists and drug runners would always use illegal cryptographic methods anyway, the USA led attempt to ban strong crypto to the general populace seemed geared towards keeping corporate secrets readable to ECHELON, rather than any real attempt at crime prevention.
The cover blows off!
Even close allies do not like it when they are being spied on. Especially if the objective is not law enforcement but corporate shenanigans to make rich politicians just that much richer. So, the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament looked into ECHELON, and officially confirmed it's existence and purpose.
Intelligence monitoring of people in the area covered by the AUSCANZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. Some critics claim the system is being used not only to search for terrorist plots, drug dealers' plans, and political and diplomatic intelligence but also for large-scale commercial theft, international economic espionage and invasion of privacy. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes. Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie.An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.
In 2001 the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy.
Bamford provides an alternate view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although does elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all source intelligence process.