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Echelon is part of a global communications tracking and spying system.

It now operates across the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia and can be used to monitor phone conversations, Internet browsing, satellite up-links and just about any form of electronic communication in existence across the globe. The system, nicknamed Echelon (pronounced esh-a-long). began operating in the 1970s. Since then, it has become one of the biggest and most secret government operations in the history of this planet. The actual system itself is by definition one of the largest and most powerful networks of super computers ever to exist. Echelons super computers can simultaneously monitor all communications in every corner of the world including your own home phone, mobile (cell) phone, and Internet communications. Since Echelons existence, the government has been using the technology to secretly tap into every known electronic communication medium in the world for inter/national intelligence and national security purposes. In order to gain access to all this information, the NSA (National Security Agency, which leads the operation) works closely with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and other telecos (telecommunication companies) in the U.S. and other parts of the world to secretly gain access to fibre optic lines and install a giant packet sniffer (specifically equipment such as the Narus STA 6400) on all inbound/outbound electronic communication. These packet sniffers are then used to filter through and access any Internet data packets bound for domestic and international destinations and interpret and organize the information so it can be easily analyzed for intelligence purposes. In addition to this, the Echelon project comprises of several outposts positioned around the world which pick up microwave and radio communications (including mobile phones, wireless broadcasts and transmissions, Wireless Internet devices, etc.) for monitoring. Last but not least, the U.S. has a comprehensive system of orbiting/geostationary satellites that also offer a substantial amount of information and communications to aid in international surveillance and intelligence programs. How can they possibly listen into every single phone conversation and communication all the time? Thats where the amazing computer software comes in. Since the 1970s, several advanced speech and vocal recognition algorithms (built well before their time and restricted to internal government use) have been developed and deployed across the worldwide Echelon network. In addition, Echelon is comprised of advanced filtering systems which can very quickly sift through tons of e-mail and other written electronic communications (such as Instant Messaging and SMS messages) to identify suspicious activity. Echelon can then take advantage of these powerful technologies to actively and automatically scan phone calls and communications for keywords and phrases such as bomb and terrorist, as well as identify speakers by cross referencing voice samples stored in a database. The system is so powerful that all this can be done in practically realtime, and in several different languages! When the system picks up suspicious activity, it then logs and relays more information about the communication to the appropriate authorities for further investigation if necessary. As much as the system invades our privacy and what we stand for as free nations with the right to free speech, Echelon still has many advantages. For instance, several terrorist plots and attacks over the past decade have been foiled. So why dont we hear about them in the news? The public is hardly ever told of any uncovered plots. This is mainly due to two reasons, firstly it would cause panic amongst the public if the full extent of the Echelon project was realized, and secondly, it would let terrorists know they are being watched so they can take further steps to avoid monitoring in the future. The mission itself is and has been so top secret that its supercomputer network and head operations centre is located in one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the U.S. To have authorized access, one would have to pass through several layers of physical barriers, security guards and guard dogs; not to mention biometric identification systems including (but not limited to), finger print scanning, eye/iris scanning, and facial recognition detection. Do realize however, Echelon does not just operate out of one operations centre, there are several other outposts around the globe. Some of these are remote and automated (such as microwave listening devices), but other outposts exist right under our noses so to speak. Over the years the NSA has been forming alliances (read as forced partnerships) with telcos such as at&t to lend out space and access to network communications in the telcos own buildings to be used by the NSA to monitor and analyze communications for intelligence reasons. You would think they need a warrant to have Echelon constantly monitoring your every move.. right? The answer is no. Even without the presidents attempted successful plot to rid the warrant requirement and award telecom immunity across the states, Echelon has been and still will monitor every form of electronic communication every minute of every day of every year (a part from system down time, which does inevitably happen even for Echelon, the most notable case being at the start of the century when the whole system was inoperable for an entire three days). There is however a general rule that whenever a country uses Echelon to spy on one of their own citizens, they are not allowed to use the information they obtain against that individual and are required to delete any records immediately. This however does not stop one of the other countries involved (which also have access to Echelon) from obtaining such information and passing it on to their countrys government, or from simply breaking the rule (which in the U.S. refers to the Constitution) and listening in without a warrant anyway.

So who uses Echelon? Well, not your local police station that is for certain. In fact, most government workers are blissfully unaware that such a system exists even today. Echelon has been so high-up on the top secret scale for so long that the only organizations or clients that actively involve themselves in the project are generally national/federal agencies (such as the FBI & NSA) and more commonly foreign intelligence programs such as the CIA (USA), CSIS (Canada), MI5 (UK), MI6 (UK), and ASIS (Australia). Tips: How do I protect myself? Unfortunately, this is not that easy. As previously stated, Echelon pretty much covers the full world map, but there are still ways to get around the system. Here are some tips to protect your privacy: 1) Talk in code. When you use ordinary words to replace suspect keywords, Echelon will have trouble spotting your hidden agenda. There are also not enough government officials involved in the Echelon project to constantly monitor for common everyday keywords. That being said, Echelon discovered communications pre-911 that used code phrases similar to the garbage truck will be delivered on Friday, so even in code the system might be able to see past what youre saying. 2) Alter your voice or speak a different language. Even though Echelon can pick up keywords in several languages, when you speak in another language you tend to change speech patterns, sentence construction, and tonal intonations. By speaking in another language or altering your voice, you are making it difficult for the system to identify you based on a pre-recorded voice sample that might already be on file. 3) Use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone lines. VoIP phones do not protect you from monitoring however they are substantially more secure compared to traditional analog telephony. Traditionally, analog phone services can be tapped into easily anywhere between you and the telco simply by attaching a telephone receiver to the copper wiring. With VoIP thousands of small data packets with 1s and 0s are sent over wiring to your ISP and then to the VoIP service. The only way to monitor a VoIP line (under the assumption transmission is not encrypted) is by using a packet sniffing device which can piece together thousands of data packets to reassemble the transmitted audio. VoIP lines are also not easily traced back to a physical address like a traditional phone line. A tracer would have to obtain a court order and demand records from your ISP to retrieve your name and address from the IP address you used at the time. The Echelon project is currently having some trouble keeping track of and monitoring VoIP lines. Keep in mind however the system is constantly expanding and improving and over time VoIP will be just as vulnerable to interception. 4) Use anonymous proxies. A proxy is a type of remote gateway that allows you hide anonymously behind your Internet connection or phone line. An Internet proxy works by gaining access to remote computer and having it download the information you request. The information is then sent to your local computer from the proxy. If for some reason the records of who accessed the original source of information are reviewed, the proxy servers IP address will be recorded, not that of your local computer. If the proxy does not retain records of your access, the proxy cant be traced back to you. A phone proxy works in a similar way. You phone into a gateway, and then dial the number you want to call. If the call is traced, it will be traced back to the location of the gateway (proxy) and not your actual location. 5) Use redundancy & concurrent communications. The best way to ensure your privacy is to make sure you dont rely entirely on just one system. Always assume that one of your mediums of communications is being actively monitored. If you make a phone call with two mobile phones on both ends of the call and then each party talks into one mobile and listens to the other party on the second mobile, then someone tapping the call can only here one side of the conversation. Echelon will not be able to automatically piece together two separate concurrent calls and treat them as one. 6) Use encryption. Probably the most secure method of all, data encryption allows you to disguise data such as written emails under what appears to be random characters and bits of scrambled information that have no meaning. By using a unique key in combination with a decryption algorithm a receiving party can then restore the original data from the random character string. Without access to the decryption algorithm and key, the information cannot be read. Warning: In the UK, a new law may force you to provide government agencies with the decryption platform and key if such agencies find it necessary. Although Echelons super computers could be used to crack the code for most sets of encrypted data over a period of time, such decryption could not be processed in realtime or a reasonable period of time for that matter even under the assumption that Echelon could dedicate enormous amounts of processing power to the task. Therefore unless a government specifically requests that an encrypted transmission be decrypted, the use of secure encryption algorithms is for the most part safe from automatic scanning from Echelon. As a personal recommendation, I encourage readers to look into Quantum Cryptography. This type of encryption is the most secure available today and cannot be intercepted by Echelon. Even if a government agency specifically requested to have this type of communication decrypted, the laws of physics guarantee with probabilistic certainty that the information exchange will remain secure, even with the power of Echelons supercomputers. Conclusion: The above article sums the system up reasonably well in my opinion. It is definitely amazing and somewhat scary technology and while I am sure many would agree that it invades our privacy, it is also useful in keeping this world a safer place to live in. I stand neutral on the project, I

neither encourage governments to use the system, nor do I outright protest against such use. However, I do feel that as citizens of a free country you have the right to pursue the use of confidential and encrypted communications when and where possible. In other words, it should be legal to take efforts to secure your transmissions, and if you choose not to, that is a personal decision thereby allowing governments access to monitor such communications. However If communications are being monitored, I strongly believe that the government(s) involved should obey both national and International law and not abuse the system to spy on citizens of their own country or citizens of another country that are not suspect of serious crimes or terrorism. As a final note, it is my belief that international diplomats and United Nation members governments should be exempt from such monitoring regardless of current diplomatic relations, or the current political or economical situation of the country. Discussion: Is Echelon keeping this world safer, or is it invading your privacy? Do you feel its right to allow other countries (or even your own country) to spy on your telephone and internee communications without your permission or knowledge? Can governments really be permitted to spy on citizens who are not suspect to crimes or terrorism? Extra: Here is a sample list of keywords that Echelon is most probably looking for right now. By saying a handful of them in one conversation, your communications will likely be flagged as suspect. Just posting them here has no doubt set-off the system and alerted the NSA of this blog post. (note that some of the keywords below are actually two or more words in sequence such as wire transfer, independently those words would not usually be considered suspect) Echelon--Top-Secret Intelligence System Questions: 1. Are you for or againts the use of Echelon for eavesdropping on electronic communications? Why or Why not? Is your opinion affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11? answer: For me I'm not against the use of Echelon, because this eavesdropping project will be an effective tool in trapping enormous crimes that happens in the world. But I'm not infavor aside from the illegal use of this Echelon, because this function is intended only for criminals not for divulging any confidential information. 2. Develop a set of plausible conditions under which the directors of Echelon would authorize using the system to listen to specific electronic communications. answer: a. It must be use only in trapping crime communications. b. Only allowed to conject some reports that is with a evidence. c. Must not be use for some illegal sharing of Information. 3. What sort of expanded or new capabilities might Echelon develop in the next 10 years as information technology continues to improve? What additional privacy issues might be raised by these new capabilities? answer: To the next future ten years echelon can already handle laguages such as Arabic and Chinese, because from now on they are enhancing the echelon to handle and understand different languages.

a. Are you for or against the use of the Echelon for eavesdropping on electronic communications? Why or why not? Is your opinion affected by the September 11,2001, terrorist attacks? Answer: Im against on using Echelon for eavesdropping on electronic communication even though we all know that now a day we are in high modern technology but we should not depend on it, its better to use and have the human intellectual rather than electronic technology and all that happening today is a result by all what we did. b. Develop a set of plausible conditions under which the directors of Echelon would authorize the use of the system to listen to specific electronic communications. Answer: Under the United States on which they use Echelon eavesdropping to intercept communications involving Americans. It is successfully in gathering enemy intelligence and was a key to success of the allied military effort in World War II.

c. What sort of expanded or new capabilities might Echelon have 10 years from now as information technology continues to improve at a rapid pace? What additional privacy issues might be raised by these new capabilities? Answer: The new capabilities might Echelon have 10 years from now as information technology its continues to improve the modernization that surely can bring us to progressive stage through the help of technology, all problems can be easily solved but all of this can affect our privilege and privacy. Like in every act that we did we can never hide it out.

About EFF From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990well before the Internet was on most people's radarand continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights. Blending the expertise of lawyers, policy analysts, activists, and technologists, EFF achieves significant victories on behalf of consumers and the general public. EFF fights for freedom primarily in the courts, bringing and defending lawsuits even when that means taking on the US government or large corporations. By mobilizing more than 140,000 concerned citizens through our Action Center, EFF beats back bad legislation. In addition to advising policymakers, EFF educates the press and public. EFF is a donor-funded nonprofit and depends on your support to continue successfully defending your digital rights. Litigation is particularly expensive; because two-thirds of our budget comes from individual donors, every contribution is critical to helping EFF fightand winmore cases. Human Rights and Technology Sales: How Corporations Can Avoid Assisting Repressive Regimes April 17, 2012 For years, there has been ample evidence that authoritarian governments around the world are relying on technology produced by American, Canadian, and European companies to facilitate human rights abuses, and the current indication is that the trend is growing. Its time for technology companies that sell surveillance and filtering equipment to step up and ensure they arent helping governments in committing human rights violations. In our new whitepaper on the subject, Human Rights and Technology Sales, EFF outlines how corporations can avoid assisting repressive regimes. The whitepaper calls on companies to increase transparency around their transactions with potentially repressive regimes and to implement Know Your Customer standards for auditing technology sales, including review of the purchasing governments technical questions and customization requests. If the review indicates that the technologies or transaction may be used to facilitate human rights violations, the company should refrain from participating. Know Your Rights! June 27, 2011 | By Hanni Fakhoury Your computer, your phone, and your other digital devices hold vast amounts of personal information about you and your family. This is sensitive data that's worth protecting from prying eyes - including those of the government. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects you from unreasonable government searches and seizures, and this protection extends to your computer and portable devices. But how does this work in the real world? What should you do if the police or other law enforcement officers show up at your door and want to search your computer? EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights if officers try to search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device, or seize it for further examination somewhere else.

Because anything you say can be used against you in a criminal or civil case, before speaking to any law enforcement official, you should consult with an attorney July 27, 2012 Judge Grants Internet Archive's Motion and Blocks Enforcement of New Washington Statute Says Statute Likely Violates First Amendment, Federal Communications Decency Act Seattle - Today, a federal district court judge granted a motion by the Internet Archive to block enforcement of an overbroad Washington state anti-sex trafficking statute that could make online service providers criminally liable for providing access to third parties' offensive materials. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing the Internet Archive in order to invalidate SB 6251, a law aimed at combatting advertisements for underage sex workers but with vague and overbroad language that is squarely in conflict with federal law. EFF last week appeared in federal district court in Seattle to argue that the court should grant a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the criminal statute while the lawsuit is ongoing. The court today agreed with the Internet Archive, finding that the statute likely violated the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, the dormant Commerce Clause, and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. "We are grateful that the Court agreed with our concerns about the gravity of the structural problems with this statute," said Senior Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman. "While everyone involved in this case agrees that sex trafficking is an abhorrent practice, the approach used in this statute to combat the problem is fundamentally and irretrievably flawed. States cannot make those who provide access to online information -- like libraries or Internet Service Providers (ISPs) -- responsible for the illegal behavior of third party users, under threat of criminal penalties. Prosecuting criminals themselves will always be the better approach." SB 6251 was passed with the hope of criminalizing the dissemination of underage sex trafficking ads and imposing a requirement to confirm the ages of individuals in such ads prior to publication. The law, however, is fraught with problems. As written, the vaguely-worded statute -- making it a felony to "directly or indirectly" provide access to any material that might constitute an "explicit or implicit" commercial offer for sex -- could be read to apply not only to posters but to neutral entities that provide access to online information, including ISPs, Internet cafes, and libraries. This would result in a chilling effect as such entities begin feeling pressured to censor protected online speech in order to safely stay on the right side of an unclear law. The Internet Archive is particularly concerned with any statute that seeks to make intermediaries responsible for content created by third parties -- the Internet Archive itself currently makes available over 150 billion archived web pages from 1996 to the present and has no practical ability to screen its collection for illegal content. With the statute now enjoined, the plaintiffs (including, which has filed a separate complaint challenging the legality of the law) will now move for a final declaration by the court that the statute is illegal.