Echelon, is the oft-talked about, but never confirmed, programe in the UK and US – which picks up tens of millions of calls, faxes and emails from the UK and US every day. These communications can then be searched via keywords etc.
Below is a a BBC article where the Australian intelligence services appear to confirm its existence.
*Update: Two years after the BBC report (below) The EU Published a a highly detailed report proving the existence of a global monitoring network, which is commonly known as Echelon. The BBC did not report on this.**
Two of the chief protagonists – Britain and America – officially deny its existence. But the BBC has confirmation from the Australian Government that such a network really does exist and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are calling for an inquiry.
On the North Yorkshire moors above Harrogate they can be seen for miles, but still they are shrouded in secrecy. Around 30 giant golf balls, known as radomes, rise from the US military base at Menwith Hill, linked to the NSA. Inside is the world’s most sophisticated eavesdropping technology, capable of listening-in to satellites high above the earth.
Menwith Facility is said to be capable of 2million intercepts per hour.
The base is linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Mead in Maryland, and it is also linked to a series of other listening posts scattered across the world, like Britain’s own GCHQ.
The power of the network, codenamed Echelon, is astounding.
Every international telephone call, fax, e-mail, or radio transmission can be listened to by powerful computers capable of voice recognition. They home in on a long list of key words, or patterns of messages. They are looking for evidence of international crime,