Monday, January 02, 2006


Echelon
And The
Surveillance
Of
Potential
Terrorists


Roger Simon, via a 1999 New York Times article, points out the similarities between the Echelon surveillance system, which has been known of for a long time, and the NSA monitoring of the transnational phone calls of potential terrorists:


Echelon is just one of the many code names for the monitoring system, which consists of satellite interception stations in participating countries. The stations collectively monitor millions of voice and data messages each day. These messages are then scanned and checked against certain key criteria held in a computer system called the "Dictionary."

In the case of voice communications, the criteria could include a suspected criminal's telephone number; with respect to data communications, the messages might be scanned for certain keywords, like "bomb" or "drugs." The report also alleges that Echelon is capable of monitoring terrestrial Internet traffic through interception nodes placed on deep-sea communications cables.


Back in 1999, when a certain Democrat was President, the New York Times was in favor of such a system. Now, the New York Times is making noises about impeachment for the very same kind of surveillance.

Interesting, huh?