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Date: 1998-10-01

Up/date: Wired ueber Echelon

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q/depesche 98.10.1/2
updating 98.9.30/1

Up/date: Wired ueber Echelon

In der EU-Kommission steht im Oktober eine neue
Untersuchung über das globale Abhörsystem an, die
Republikaner werden es zur gleichen Zeit im US-Kongress zur
Sprache bringen. Auch wenn die Echelon/betreiber
US/UK/AU/NZ/ sämtliche Anfragen grundsätzlich ignorieren,
steht nach zahlreichen Berichten in angesehenen Medien wie
der NY-Times der letzten Zeit fest, dass Echelon ganz in den
Bereich "Science" & gar nicht unter "Fiction" einzuordnen

DISCLAIMER: Die Berichterstattung der q/depesche zum Komplex
Echelon beruht zu einem guten Teil auf Sachkenntnis &
Recherchearbeit von Kid Moechel, der bereits in den frühen
90er Jahren über Echelon publiziert hat.
Kid M. ist u.a. Autor des Sachbuchs "Der geheime Krieg der
Agenten" (Hamburg 1997).

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by Niall McKay,
If the European Parliament has its way, the lid is about to
come off what is reputedly one of the most powerful,
secretive, and extensive spy networks in history -- if, in
fact, it really exists.

In October, Europe's governing body will commission a full
report into the workings of Echelon, a global network of
highly sensitive listening posts operated in part by
America's most clandestine intelligence organization, the
National Security Agency [ ].

"Frankly, the only people who have any doubt about the
existence of Echelon are in the United States," said Glyn
Ford [ ], a British member of the
European Parliament and a director of Scientific and
Technical Options Assessment, or STOA ], a
technology advisory committee to the parliament.

Echelon is reportedly able to intercept, record, and
translate any electronic communication -- telephone, data,
cellular, fax, email, telex -- sent anywhere in the world.
The parliamentary report will focus on concerns that the
system has expanded and is now zeroed in on the secrets of
European companies and elected officials.

The parliament is alarmed at reports of Echelon's impressive
capabilities, and during a debate on 19 September the
European Union called for accountability
Across the Atlantic, Patrick Poole, deputy director for the
Free Congress Foundation, a conservative Washington think
tank, is preparing a report on Echelon to present to
Republican members of Congress. "I believe it's time we
start to bring this matter to our elected officials," he
Over the years, enough information has leaked to suggest
that the spy network is more than science fiction. Echelon
came to the attention of the EU Parliament following a
report commissioned by STOA last year.
According to the STOA report and stories in The New York
Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Guardian, Echelon
consists of a network of listening posts, antenna fields,
and radar stations. The system is backed by computers that
use language translation, speech recognition, and keyword
searching to automatically sift through telephone, email,
fax, and telex traffic.

The system is principally operated by the NSA and the GCHQ,
but reportedly also relies on cooperation with "signals
intelligence" operations in other countries, including the
Communications Security Establishment of Canada ], Australia's Defense Signals
Directorate, and New Zealand's Government Communications
Security Bureau.
Each agency reportedly maintains a glossary of keywords. If
Echelon intercepts a transmission containing a word or
phrase contained in the glossary -- bomb, for example -- the
full conversation, email, or fax is recorded and shared
among the agencies.

"Echelon intercepts Internet traffic at the transport layer,
such as the TCP/IP layer, so the system doesn't care too
much what it is or where it came from," said Pike. "For
analog traffic, such as telephone conversations, it uses
automatic voice-recognition technology to scan the
A 1993 BBC documentary about NSA's Menwith Hill facility in
England revealed that peace protestors had broken into the
installation and stolen part of this glossary, known as "the
Dictionary." The documentary alleged that Menwith Hill -- a
sprawling installation covering 560 acres and employing more
than 1,200 people -- was Echelon's nerve center.

Further evidence emerged last year, when British Telecom
told a court that it provides high-bandwidth
telecommunications into the Menwith Hill facility and from
the facility to the United States, using a transatlantic
fiber-optic network.

full story

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