The ECHELON System

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                             The ECHELON System

     In his article Exposing the Global Surveillance Network in the #59
     issue of CovertAction Quarterly (European mirror) Nicky Hagar
     writes:

     "For 40 years, New Zealand's largest
     intelligence agency, the Government
     Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) the nation's equivalent of
     the US National Security Agency (NSA) had been helping its Western
     allies to spy on countries throughout the Pacific region ... The
     activities they [Hagar's sources] described made it possible to
     document, from the South Pacific, some alliance-wide systems and
     projects which have been kept secret elsewhere. Of these, by far
     the most important is ECHELON. Designed and coordinated by NSA,
     the ECHELON system is used to intercept ordinary e-mail, fax,
     telex, and telephone communications carried over the world's
     telecommunications networks. ... It potentially affects every
     person communicating between (and sometimes within) countries
     anywhere in the world."

     The ECHELON system was exposed in detail for the first time in
     1996 in Nicky Hagar's book Secret Power. In Chapter 3 we read:

     "All the text messages (written communications such as
     telexes, faxes, e-mail) intercepted at the Waihopai
     station are fed into these computers. This is an enormous mass of
     material -- literally all the business, government and personal
     messages that the station catches. The computers automatically
     search through everything as it arrives at the station.

     "This is the work of the Dictionary program. It reads every word
     and number in every single incoming message and picks out all the
     ones containing target keywords and numbers. Thousands of
     simultaneous messages are read in 'real time' as they pour into
     the station, hour after hour, day after day, as the computer finds
     intelligence needles in the telecommunications haystack."

     And the same is happening at the other satellite tracking stations
     run by the NSA -- in Australia (Geraldton), England (Morwenstow),
     the U.S. (Sugar Grove and Yakima) and other places. The spooks
     have the world covered, and consider themselves free to read
     anyone's email that they wish to. Should this be allowed to
     continue?

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                     Spy Power Boost for Secret Station

                  Satellite move clears way for phone taps.

     ------------------------------------------------------------------

        * Simon Davies: Spies like US

        * Loring Wirbel: Space: intelligence technology's embattled
          frontier

        * Menwith Hill

        * ECHELON (in German)

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                         Last modified: 1998-02-10


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