The Echelon Page

This page is about Project Echelon, [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] which is a government eavesdropping system along the lines of Carnivore, but on a world-wide scale.

What is Echelon?  "Only in a 'police state' is the unrestricted interception of communications permitted by government authorities."

Inside Echelon:  During the 1980s, the NSA developed a "fast data finder" microprocessor that was optimally designed for this purpose.  It was later commercially marketed, with claims that it "the most comprehensive character-string comparison functions of any text retrieval system in the world".  A single unit could work with "trillions of bytes of textual archive and thousands of online users, or gigabytes of live data stream per day that are filtered against tens of thousands of complex interest profiles."

ECHELON: America's Secret Global Surveillance Network.  In the greatest surveillance effort ever established, the US National Security Agency has created a global spy system, codename ECHELON, which captures and analyzes virtually every phone call, fax, email and telex message sent anywhere in the world.

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.

Echelon Exists, and You're Busted.  Don your tinfoil hats, folks, because the hush-hush NSA project ECHELON just had a little light shined on it.

Carnivore, Altivore, Echelon:  In terms of privacy concerns as well as raw technological power, Carnivore looks like a toy compared to Echelon.  Echelon is almost certainly the world's most sophisticated network monitoring system and, if rumors are to be believed, anyone who feels uncomfortable with the secrecy surrounding Carnivore should feel downright paranoid where Echelon is concerned.

Somebody's listening.  American, British and Allied intelligence agencies are soon to embark on a massive, billion-dollar expansion of their global electronic surveillance system.  According to information given recently in secret to the US Congress, the surveillance system will enable the agencies to monitor and analyse civilian communications into the 21st century.  Identified for the moment as Project P415, the system will be run by the US National Security Agency.

Echelon's Architect:  Echelon now has a big brother.  Meet Bruce McIndoe, lead architect for Echelon II, the 'most productive intelligence program' in history.

The Echelon attack.  Internet activists [in October 1999] tried to overwhelm National Security Agency eavesdroppers by flooding the Echelon spy system with fabricated messages about terrorist plots and bombs.  The idea never posed a real threat to the NSA, but the electronic protest helped raise awareness of the fact that the government is snooping on every man, woman and child in the country through this system.

Exposing The Global Surveillance System.  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.  Unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the Cold War, ECHELON is designed primarily for non-military targets:  governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals in virtually every country.  It potentially affects every person communicating between (and sometimes within) countries anywhere in the world.

My parents were spies.  I grew up just outside RAF Chicksand (at the time an American base, despite the "RAF").  It's most distinctive feature was a giant double circle antenna we used to call "The Elephants Cage" which didn't appear on any maps.  It was common local knowledge amongst kids that it was part of a global spy network and if you ever said "bomb" on the phone it would start taping you.  Hence whenever using the phone we used to say "bomb" a lot.  Don't ask me where we got this from, but it looks like it's turned out to be at least partially true.

Echelon:  Someone is Listening:  a huge information resource on Echelon.

Somebody's listening:  This network of monitoring stations is able to tap all international and some domestic communications circuits, and sift out messages which sound interesting.

Echelon Watch:  The goal of EchelonWatch is not to disband legitimate intelligence operations but to insist that they be subject to proper oversight.

Echelon Research Resources: Huge collection of articles and links.

Echelon — Rights Violation in the Information Age:  Now that the cold war is over, covert agencies around the world are increasingly turning their SIGINT assets, most notably a vast global electronic spy system known as Echelon, against civilian targets.  Itís enough to give any decent rights-respecting individual nightmares.

Echelon: Big brother without a cause?  Critics accuse the United States' intelligence community and its English-speaking partners of waging what is in effect a new Cold War.  At stake are international contracts worth billions of dollars, and at the disposal of the spymasters is an intelligence gathering system of immense power.

Report Downplays Echelon Effect:  A global surveillance system known as Echelon does exist and has the ability to eavesdrop on telephone calls, faxes and e-mail messages, a European Parliament committee has concluded.

Q&A: What you need to know about Echelon:  Civil rights groups who monitor Echelon say it can be used to intercept almost any electronic communication, be it a phone conversation, mobile phone call, e-mail message, fax transmission, net browsing history, or satellite transmission.  The wildest estimates of its capabilities report that it can sift through up to 90% of all internet traffic.

Echelon Panel Calls It a Day:  "I think it's very good that the report states clearly that Echelon exists, so the work we've done is not in vain."

Echelon excesses:  There is a strong belief in intelligence circles that Brian Regan may have been the first spy nabbed by "Echelon," the highly classified information gathering and dissemination network operated by the U.S. National Security Agency and its global partners.

They're Listening to Your Calls:  Echelon monitors phones, E-mail, and radio signals.

E-mail users warned over spy network:  Computer users across Europe should encrypt all their e-mails, to avoid being spied on by a UK-US eavesdropping network, say Euro-MPs.

US spy system under attack:  The Echelon system, originally set up during the Cold War, is known to be capable of intercepting private telephone conversations, faxes and e-mails worldwide.

Louder Call for Echelon Probe:  Fresh outrage in Japan over alleged U.S. satellite-based spying, coupled with European pressure on the same subject, could add urgency to calls for Congress to engage in a serious investigation of the so-called Echelon system.

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Updated July 31, 2005.

Page design by Andrew K. Dart  ©2005