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The NSA's Echelon System

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Echelon is the term popularly used for an automated, global, quasi-total surveillance system operated by the intelligence agencies in five nations: the United States (NSA), the United Kingdom (GCHQ), Canada (CSE), Australia (DSD) and New Zealand (GCSB).

Echelon intercepts huge amounts of ordinary phone calls, e-mail messages, Internet downloads, satellite transmissions, etc., gathering all of these transmissions indiscriminately and distilling 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.

The United States government has gone to extreme lengths to keep Echelon a secret, even after the governments of Australia and New Zealand admitted to its existence.

Echelon is a highly classified operation, which is conducted with little or no oversight by national parliaments or courts, so there is no way to know how the information is used, and whether that use is lawful or not.

Significant privacy concerns have been raised by Congress and many other governments and institutions.

CLICK HERE for Details, Sources and Further Information on the Echelon system.


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