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Thread: Project ECHELON: European and American Intell Filters Cellphone and Internet

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    Project ECHELON: European and American Intell Filters Cellphone and Internet

    ECHELON is a "term associated with a global network of computers that automatically search through millions of intercepted messages for pre-programmed keywords or fax, telex and e-mail addresses. Every word of every message in the frequencies and channels selected at a station is automatically searched. The processors in the network are known as the ECHELON Dictionaries. ECHELON connects all these computers and allows the individual stations to function as distributed elements an integrated system. An ECHELON station's Dictionary contains not only its parent agency's chosen keywords, but also lists for each of the other four agencies in the UKUSA system [NSA, GCHQ, DSD, GCSB and CSE]." [1]
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=ECHELON

    Q - What is Project ECHELON?
    ECHELON is the term popularly used for an automated global interception and relay system operated by the intelligence agencies in five nations: the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (it is believed that ECHELON is the code name for the portion of the system that intercepts satellite-based communications). While the United States National Security Agency (NSA) takes the lead, ECHELON works in conjunction with other intelligence agencies, including the Australian Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). It is believed that ECHELON also works with Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the agencies of other allies of the United States, pursuant to various treaties. (1)

    These countries coordinate their activities pursuant to the UKUSA agreement, which dates back to 1947. The original ECHELON dates back to 1971. However, its capabilities and priorities have expanded greatly since its formation. According to reports, it is capable of intercepting and processing many types of transmissions, throughout the globe. In fact, it has been suggested that ECHELON may intercept as many as 3 billion communications everyday, including phone calls, e-mail messages, Internet downloads, satellite transmissions, and so on. (2) The ECHELON system gathers all of these transmissions indiscriminately, then distills the information that is most heavily desired through artificial intelligence programs. Some sources have claimed that ECHELON sifts through an estimated 90 percent of all traffic that flows through the Internet. (3)

    However, the exact capabilities and goals of ECHELON remain unclear. For example, it is unknown whether ECHELON actually targets domestic communications. Also, it is apparently very difficult for ECHELON to intercept certain types of transmissions, particularly fiber communications.

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    Ex-Head of the CIA: Yes, my continental European friends, we have spied on you

    The Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2000

    Why We Spy on Our Allies

    By R. James Woolsey, a Washington lawyer and a former Director of Central Intelligence.

    What is the recent flap regarding Echelon and U.S. spying on European industries all about? We'll begin with some candor from the American side. Yes, my continental European friends, we have spied on you. And it's true that we use computers to sort through data by using keywords. Have you stopped to ask yourselves what we're looking for?

    The European Parliament's recent report on Echelon, written by British journalist Duncan Campbell, has sparked angry accusations from continental Europe that U.S. intelligence is stealing advanced technology from European companies so that we can -- get this -- give it to American companies and help them compete. My European friends, get real. True, in a handful of areas European technology surpasses American, but, to say this as gently as I can, the number of such areas is very, very, very small. Most European technology just isn't worth our stealing.

    Why, then, have we spied on you? The answer is quite apparent from the Campbell report -- in the discussion of the only two cases in which European companies have allegedly been targets of American secret intelligence collection. Of Thomson-CSF, the report says: "The company was alleged to have bribed members of the Brazilian government selection panel." Of Airbus, it says that we found that "Airbus agents were offering bribes to a Saudi official." These facts are inevitably left out of European press reports.

    That's right, my continental friends, we have spied on you because you bribe. Your companies' products are often more costly, less technically advanced or both, than your American competitors'. As a result you bribe a lot. So complicit are your governments that in several European countries bribes still are tax-deductible.

    When we have caught you at it, you might be interested, we haven't said a word to the U.S. companies in the competition. Instead we go to the government you're bribing and tell its officials that we don't take kindly to such corruption. They often respond by giving the most meritorious bid (sometimes American, sometimes not) all or part of the contract. This upsets you, and sometimes creates recriminations between your bribers and the other country's bribees, and this occasionally becomes a public scandal. We love it.

    Why do you bribe? It's not because your companies are inherently more corrupt. Nor is it because you are inherently less talented at technology. It is because your economic patron saint is still Jean Baptiste Colbert, whereas ours is Adam Smith. In spite of a few recent reforms, your governments largely still dominate your economies, so you have much greater difficulty than we in innovating, encouraging labor mobility, reducing costs, attracting capital to fast-moving young businesses and adapting quickly to changing economic circumstances. You'd rather not go through the hassle of moving toward less dirigisme. It's so much easier to keep paying bribes.

    The Central Intelligence Agency collects other economic intelligence, but the vast majority of it is not stolen secrets. The Aspin-Brown Commission four years ago found that about 95% of U.S. economic intelligence comes from open sources.

    The Campbell report describes a sinister-sounding U.S. meeting in Washington where -- shudder! -- CIA personnel are present and the participants -- brace yourself -- "identify major contracts open for bid" in Indonesia. Mr. Campbell, I suppose, imagines something like this: A crafty CIA spy steals stealthily out of a safe house, changes disguises, checks to make sure he's not under surveillance, coordinates with a spy satellite and . . . buys an Indonesian newspaper. If you Europeans really think we go to such absurd lengths to obtain publicly available information, why don't you just laugh at us instead of getting in high dudgeon?

    What are the economic secrets, in addition to bribery attempts, that we have conducted espionage to obtain? One example is some companies' efforts to conceal the transfer of dual-use technology. We follow sales of supercomputers and certain chemicals closely, because they can be used not only for commercial purposes but for the production of weapons of mass destruction. Another is economic activity in countries subject to sanctions -- Serbian banking, Iraqi oil smuggling.

    But do we collect or even sort secret intelligence for the benefit of specific American companies? Even Mr. Campbell admits that we don't, although he can't bring himself to say so except with a double negative: "In general this is not incorrect." The Aspin-Brown Commission was more explicit: "U.S. Intelligence Agencies are not tasked to engage in 'industrial espionage' -- i.e. obtaining trade secrets for the benefit of a U.S. company or companies."

    The French government is forming a commission to look into all this. I hope the commissioners come to Washington. We should organize two seminars for them. One would cover our Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and how we use it, quite effectively, to discourage U.S. companies from bribing foreign governments. A second would cover why Adam Smith is a better guide than Colbert for 21st-century economies. Then we could move on to industrial espionage, and our visitors could explain, if they can keep straight faces, that they don't engage in it. Will the next commission pursue the issue of rude American maitre d's?

    Get serious, Europeans. Stop blaming us and reform your own statist economic policies. Then your companies can become more efficient and innovative, and they won't need to resort to bribery to compete.

    And then we won't need to spy on you.

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    To Zimobog

    Is this a joke? Or are you in a somewhat funny way letting us know just how brainwashed some Americans are?

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    Anglo-American spying network

    The Echelon spy network:

    Euro MPs today published a report into the shadowy Anglo-American intelligence operation known as Echelon. The US government denies Echelon exists.

    by Jane Perrone guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 29 May 2001 15.29
    What is Echelon?

    A global network of electronic spy stations that can eavesdrop on telephones, faxes and computers. It can even track bank accounts. This information is stored in Echelon computers, which can keep millions of records on individuals.

    Officially, however, Echelon doesn't exist. Although evidence of Echelon has been growing since the mid-1990s, America flatly denies that it exists, while the UK government's responses to questions about the system are evasive.

    What's its history?
    The US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand created Echelon as part of an Anglo-Saxon club, set up by secret treaty in 1947. The five countries divided up the world to share the product of global eavesdropping.

    During the cold war, Echelon's attentions were focused on military and diplomatic communications. But increasingly sophisticated computers mean Echelon can monitor industrial targets and private individuals.

    How does it work?
    The Echelon operation is based at Fort Meade in Maryland, America, and at GCHQ in Cheltenham. Agencies from the five countries exchange intercepted transmissions, using supercomputers to flag up any messages containing key words listed in the so-called Echelon 'dictionaries'. These transmissions are recorded and transcribed for future analysis.

    Why has it hit the headlines now?
    The European parliament issued a report on Echelon today, following a year-long inquiry into allegations that the spy system is being used to gather Europe's sensitive industrial secrets and pass them to British or American rivals.

    What did they find?
    The report concluded that the worldwide spy network does exist, but provides no firm evidence that the Echelon system has been used for commercial espionage. Although it has no legal clout, the MEPs' findings raise questions about how discriminating a global electronic spy system can be. The European commission will now investigate whether Britain's use of the system is illegal.

    So what's the problem with Echelon?
    It isn't only industry that's at risk. The report says that in the process of industrial spying, Echelon is eavesdropping on millions of daily communications between ordinary people.

    The worry is that Echelon could become a cyber secret police, eroding individuals' right to privacy. The MEPs have warned the government that Britain could be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights because of its participation in Echelon.

    As National Security Agency expert James Bamford explains in his book Body of Secrets: "The real issue is whether Echelon is doing away with individual privacy, a basic human right."

    How can I protect myself?
    With difficulty. If it is any comfort, the European parliament report said "only a very small portion" of global telephone, email and fax communications were being tapped into, mostly those done via satellite.

    It would also help to encrypt your emails - in other words, translate them into a secret code. The person receiving your encrypted message must have access to a key or password allowing them to decode and read it.

    Or make sure you do not use phones, faxes or emails communicating information you would rather others did not know. As Neil MacCormick, the Scottish Nationalist vice-chairman of the Echelon parliamentary committee, put it: "People should treat their emails like seaside postcards; that is to say put anything you like on them but don't be surprised if someone else reads them."

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    I'm sure the police in the UK gained the ability to be able to legally read our emails and 'hack' into our computers a couple of years back. There was definitely talk about these laws about to come into practice.

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    Varg wrote:
    Is this a joke? Or are you in a somewhat funny way letting us know just how brainwashed some Americans are?
    The posts regarding Project ECHELON are to warn continental Europeans about Anglo-American spying.

    The post of the article written by the former head of the CIA and published in a mainstream American newspaper is show the cynical attitude the intel community has toward spying and to expose the connection European and American governments have to the business cartels that control them. Isn't it interesting that the controlling oligarchy seems to have power-struggles from within?

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    Just read up a bit on what I was talking about in the UK. They can use a paper warrant to get access to emails from the ISP companies. They are pushing for more power to spy though. EDIT: Silly me, this ones about the US.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10446503-38.html

    EDIT: This is about the UK.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...c-1225802.html
    Last edited by Deifr; Monday, March 15th, 2010 at 01:40 AM. Reason: errors and additions

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