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Date: 1998-11-07

Echelon: EU Parlament plant Studie

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Das Europäische Parlament kontempliert eine Studie über
Echelon und die Rolle der NSA, was Wirtschaftsspionage
über dem Luftraume Europas anbetrifft. Wenn freilich
niemand anschiebt, ist es möglich, dass dies sich noch ein
Jahr hinausziehen kann, weil man vor den EU-Wahlen keinen
neuen transatlantischen Wickel rsikieren will . Simon Davies,
Doyen der europäischen Echelon-Busters, plant zur
Beschleunigung des Kontemplations/prozesses fürs
Frühjahr einen ein/schlägigen Event.

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Daniel Verton
Nov 5, 1998 .17:00 EST The European Union is considering
launching a full-scale investigation into whether the National
Security Agency is abusing its massive and highly advanced
surveillance network to spy on government and private groups
around the world.

NSA's Cold War-vintage global spying system, code-named
Echelon, consists of a worldwide network of clandestine
listening posts capable of intercepting electronic
communications such as e-mail, telephone conversations,
faxes, satellite transmissions, microwave links and fiber-optic
communications traffic, according to a report commissioned
by the Scientific and Technological Options Committee of the
European Parliament, which is the legislative body of the
European Union.
"All e-mail, telephone and fax communications are routinely
intercepted by the [NSA], transferring all target information
from the European mainland via the strategic hub of London,
then by satellite to Fort Meade in Maryland via the crucial
hub at Menwith Hill in the...[United Kingdom]," according the
report, "An Appraisal of the Technologies of Political Control."

Menwith Hill's Silkworth computer uses voice recognition,
optical character recognition and data information engines to
process the collected electronic signals and then forwards
the processed messages to NSA, said Patrick S. Poole,
deputy director of the Center for Technology Policy at the
Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, a
Washington, D.C.-based think tank specializing in privacy
Eavesdropping on nonmilitary groups has European
lawmakers and privacy advocates worldwide concerned that
NSA may be abusing its powers.

Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, a London-
based civil liberties watchdog organization, said the original
report was only the first of several stages in the investigation,
and the European Parliament is planning to fund an
independent study of Echelon in the coming months. "There's
enough interest [throughout the EU] to warrant a full-scale
specific investigation [of Echelon]," Davies said.

Despite what Davies described as "an extraordinary amount
of effort being made to silence inquiring minds," the European
Parliament and various privacy advocates also plan to form a
"conference of whistle-blowers" by March 1999 in an effort to
"force these agencies to the table and to account for
themselves," Davies said.

Eduard McVeigh, a spokesman for the European Parliament
in London, said the committee has not yet decided what
action to take in light of the report. "I get the impression they
are not likely to do anything with it until after the European
elections next June," McVeigh said. Still, several members of
Parliament felt it was an urgent matter that requires further
investigation, McVeigh said.
For example, Poole said, in the 1980s Echelon was used to
intercept electronic communications of Sen. Strom Thurmond
(R-S.C.), civilian political groups in Europe, Amnesty
International and Christian ministries.

Full text

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published on: 1998-11-07
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