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]
Sources and Resources
- Final Report on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system), European Parliament Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System, approved September 5, 2001 (~1 MB PDF file)
- A Dissent from the European Parliament Echelon Committee Report, minority report, July 4, 2001.
- Draft Report on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system), European Parliament Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System, May 18, 2001 (780 kB PDF file)
- Secret Power - New Zealand's Role in the International Spy Network by Nicky Hager Published by Craig Potton Publishing, PO Box 555, Nelson, New Zealand First published 1996
- ECHELON: NSA's Global Electronic Interception @ JYA
- Interception Capabilities 2000 Report to the Director General for Research of the European Parliament (Scientific and Technical Options Assessment programme office) on the development of surveillance technology and risk of abuse of economic information - April 1999
DEVELOPMENT OF SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY AND RISK OF ABUSE OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION
European Parliament (Scientific and Technical Options Assessment)
- Presentation and Analysis
- State of the art in COMINT
- Encryption and cryptosystems in electronic surveillance
- The legality of the interception of electronic communications
- The perception of economic risks
- The new space invaders - Spies in the sky Peter Goodspeed National Post Saturday, February 19, 2000 -- "This whole thing is so bizarrely powerful that the opportunity or temptation for abuse is fairly substantial," says Mr. Pike of the American Federation of Scientists. "How many people in your organization always obey the rules? "The notion that NSA or any other of these spy networks is the only large organization in human history in which everyone always obeys the rules just flies in the face of common sense," he says.
- SHH! UNCLE SAM IS LISTENING Jack Anderson and Douglas Cohn United Feature Syndicate November 16, 1999 -- According to John Pike, a military analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, "They are going to continue to gather anything they want to, but the wild card is what will be revealed in the report. We can assume that the NSA did not flat out break the law, but we can also assume that Barr won't be told much and the public will be told less" about Project Echelon.
- Critics Questioning NSA Reading Habits By Vernon Loeb Washington Post November 13, 1999; Page A03 -- Steven Aftergood, director of a research project on government secrecy at the independent Federation of American Scientists, said the controversy is a case study of the public's willingness to believe almost anything about the NSA.
- Trade Secrets : Is the U.S.'s most advanced surveillance system feeding economic intelligence to American businesses? Mother Jones November 1, 1999 "Since the NSA's collection capabilities are so grotesquely powerful, it's difficult to know what's going on over there," says John Pike, an analyst at the watchdog group Federation of American Scientists, who has tracked the NSA for years.
THE EDGE WITH PAULA ZAHN FOX NEWS NETWORK October 21, 1999 -- Echelon is reportedly monitoring up to two million communications every hour of every day. John Pike "As long as the rules are conformed with, I think we're OK. The question is whether NSA's really obeying the rules."
- Automatically generating a topic description for text and searching and sorting text by topic using the same United States Patent 5,937,422 Nelson , et al. August 10, 1999 --- It is an object of the present invention to automatically generate a topic description for a document that may include words that do not appear in the document. Possible applications of the present invention include: post processing to improve machine transcription (e.g., machine recognition of speech, auto dictation, text conversion from an optical character reader, etc.), and multi-lingual processing (e.g., multi-lingual interface, automatic translation, etc.).
- New Navy-supported machine recognizes spoken words better than humans NAVY WIRE SERVICE (NWS) - November 1, 1999 -- In benchmark testing, USC's speech recognition system bested all existing computer systems and outperformed the keenest human ears.
- Machine Demonstrates Superhuman Speech Recognition Abilities University of Southern California News Service Release date: 9/30/99 -- The system can distinguished words in vast amounts of random "white" noise � noise with amplitude 1,000 times the strength of the target auditory signal. Human listeners can deal with only a fraction as much. And the system can pluck words from the background clutter of other voices � the hubbub heard in bus stations, theater lobbies and cocktail parties, for example. With just a minor adjustment, the system can identify different speakers of the same word with superhuman acuity.