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posted on Jun, 12 2006 @ 04:20 AM
I have been wondering for a while why US citizens seem to be so heavily against NSA listening to US phonecalls/analysing logs without a warrant?

Yet it seems to be a consensus that it's ok to monitor and log communications in other countries. Is your privacy worth protecting, but mine isn't?

How would you feel if, for arguments sake, swedish government would be accused of listening to US phonecalls. Would that be wrong too?


If so, How can the NSAs spying on civilians and ordinary citizens of non-US countries be right?

posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 08:02 AM
Dead thread, so i'll steer it to a new direction. Here is a FAQ on echelon i wrote a few years ago (under a different nickname, for a different organisation)

Frequently Asked Questions: Echelon
Echelon. Do you recognize the word? Do you know what it is? What it does? Echelon is a system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept and filter international communications passed via communications satellites. Read this FAQ and learn the basics of one of the largest systems on the globe.
What is Echelon?

It is one part of a global surveillance system that is now over 50 years old. Other parts of the same system intercept messages from the Internet, undersea cables, microwave links between cities,and radio transmissions or use orbiting satellites to monitor signals anywhere on the earth’s surface.
Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are cooperating with the US in this project, and they also run their own “Echelon” type stations. Sigint (Signal intelligence) stations are connected to each other, creating the world’s largest wide area network (WAN).

What does it do?

Echelon monitors and filters large portions of all satellite communications in the world. It analyses the data it gathers by comparing the data with a “dictionary” containing keywords that reflect the current areas of interest. If matches are found, the system sends it to analysts who then make a decision as to whether the intercepted information is valuable or not. Only about 1 communication in 1000 goes to a human analyst, and only 1 in a million results in a report. ECHELON may intercept as many as 3 billion communications everyday, including phone calls, e-mail messages, Internet downloads, satellite transmissions, and so on.

How does it obtain the data it analyses?

ECHELON collects data in several ways. Reports suggest it has massive ground based radio antennae to intercept satellite transmissions. In addition, some sites reputedly are tasked with tapping surface traffic. These antennae reportedly are in the United States, Italy, England, Turkey, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and several other places.
Similarly, it is believed that ECHELON uses numerous satellites to catch “spillover” data from transmissions between cities. These satellites then beam the information down to processing centers on the ground. The main centers are in the United States (near Denver), England (Menwith Hill), Australia, and Germany.
Furthermore, it is believed that ECHELON has even used special underwater devices which tap into cables that carry phone calls across the seas. According to published reports, American divers were able to install surveillance devices on the underwater cables. This same technique was used against Soviet cables running from mainland Russia to Novaja Zemlija.

Who controls it?

Echelon is controlled by the NSA, Britain’s sigint agency GCHQ, and similar agencies in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is unclear how much control over echelon the individual governments of these countries have.

Is it the only system of its kind?

Many countries like China, Russia, and France, have similar but smaller systems. The European Union has Enfopol, which has some similar capabilities, but Enfopol’s use is restricted to anti-organized crime operations only.

Why and when was it created?

The countries involved in Echelon coordinate their activities pursuant to the UKUSA agreement, which dates back to 1947. The original ECHELON system dates back to 1971. However, its capabilities and priorities have expanded greatly since its formation, and the system is continually under develpement.

Why should I care about it?
ECHELON is a highly classified operation, conducted with little or no oversight by national parliaments or courts. Most of what is known comes from whistleblowers and classified documents. The simple truth is that there is no way to know precisely what ECHELON is being used for.
However, there is evidence, much of which is circumstantial, that ECHELON (along with its British counterpart) has been engaged in significant invasions of privacy. These alleged violations include secret surveillance of political organizations, such as Amnesty International. It has also been reported that ECHELON has engaged in industrial espionage towards various private companies, such as Airbus Industries and Panavia, then has passed information to their American competitors. It is unclear just how far Echelon’s activities have harmed private individuals.

Inside Echelon by Duncan Campbell
Echelon Watch
Several signal officers from FRDF


posted on Jun, 19 2006 @ 08:23 AM
Honestly, It is just the latest political football in America.

Basically, the Democratic Party continues to lose the sway it once had over people. So the leadership has begun flailing about, trying to find THE ONE TOPIC that will incense the public and convince them to vote the republicans out of office.

In the last national election (2004), the republicans came from behind in conservative rural areas of the midwest and west by turning the election into a referendum on gay marriage. Even though many conservatives had misgivings about relecting Bush, when they stepped into the polling booth, they saw a list of state referenda attached to their national ballot. In eleven key states, the first one was a "defense of marriage act" which were state-wide initiatives to keep the local government from legally recognizing marriages between two same-sex partners.

I bring all of that up to illustrate how finding a "key issue" really helped Bush's odds. In the eleven states with the issue on the Ballot, Bush won by wide margins. This was partly due to the issue coming up in national debates, and Kerry saying he was "in favor of gay rights." The republicans morphed that into him being in favor of gay marriage.

I'm not saying that the voters actually cared that much about gay issues, or that they weren't alive to the REAL issues of the election. But seeing that question at the top of the ballot put a bad taste in conservative voters' mouths. By the time they got to the bottom of the ballot to vote for president, they had been "reminded" of everything they don't like about Kerry & Democrats.

The Democrats want to copy this strategy, and are currently seeking a "key issue" of their own. For a generation, it has been Social security (retirement) benefits. They are killing the US budget, but voting to cut them or reform SS is death for an election campaign. So the Democrats had that key issue. But since 9-11, voters don't really care about SS any more.

So the democrats are casting about for a "key issue" that has national security written all over it. They see the Right as a bunch of Nazis, and are trying to find an issue that would help the public see it their way.

Earlier in the year, they had hoped "wire tapping" would do it. They had govt workers "come forward," and tell all. They launched congressional investigations, they had exposees in the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal. But people just didn't care.

So the Democrats have dropped the wiretap issue and moved on.

It's all about politics in the end.


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