Home Page | About Us | Press Enquiries| Reports | Policy Issues | News Items | Press Releases | Mailing Lists | Bookstore

ECHELON WATCH

This section of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) deals with issues in relation to the interception of communications at a global stage. It will provide useful information and links in relation to international, governmental and non governmental, public and secret (private) developments in relation to the interception of all sorts of communications (including but not specifically to Internet communications) with a particular focus on ECHELON and ENFOPOL issues.

Please cite these pages as:
Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), "Echelon Watch," at
http://www.cyber-rights.org/interception/echelon/
Last updated in
July 2001.

Essential viewing - the Echelon Map


RECENT NEWS

European Parliament resolution on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system) (2001/2098(INI)) - September 2001

Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System, Report on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system) (2001/2098 (INI)), Final, A5-0264/2001, 11 July, 2001, (Rapporteur: Gerhard Schmid)

Echelon: the risk is there - precautions are needed - European Parliament Press Release, 09 July, 2001

The Temporary Committee on the Echelon Interception System (chair: Carlos COELHO, EPP-ED, P) voted on 3 July on a draft motion for a resolution (rapporteur: Gerhard SCHMID, PES, D) to wind up the work it has carried out over the last year. The text was adopted by 27 votes to 5 with 2 abstentions. The representatives of three groups (Greens/EFA, EUL/NGL and TGI) announced their intention to table a minority opinion when the motion for a resolution is debated in plenary in September.

The first task of the committee, as laid down in its mandate, was to verify the existence of this interception system. While there is no formal proof, the committee says that in view of the evidence and the many statements which tally with each other, including some from American sources, the existence of a global system for intercepting communications, 'operating with the participation of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the UK-USA Agreement, is no longer in doubt'. The same is true of the use to which Echelon is put, namely 'to intercept private and commercial communications, and not military communications'. While the capabilities of the system are not nearly as extensive as some sections of the media have assumed, say MEPs, it is worrying that many senior Community figures who gave evidence to the committee, 'including European Commissioners', claimed to be unaware of the system.

The committee's second task was to verify whether the system is compatible with Community law. The text adopted distinguishes between legitimate intelligence gathering and the use of such a system to spy on business communications. In the latter case, any Member State participating in the system would be violating EU law. While the committee did not unearth any evidence that, as is often maintained, the global interception system is used to distort business competition, the motion for a resolution states that according to information obtained in the USA '5% of intelligence gathered through non-open sources is used for economic intelligence' and that 'this intelligence surveillance could enable US industry to earn up to 7 billion dollars in terms of contracts'. The resolution points out that since sensitive data are mostly kept inside individual firms, other methods of espionage are generally used (by having people planted in a firm or by hacking into computer networks). Only if sensitive data are transmitted externally can communications surveillance be effective. In this connection the resolution calls on the Member States and the US government 'to start an open US-EU dialogue on economic intelligence gathering'.

The mandate also covers the issue of privacy and the possibility for the committee to propose political or legislative initiatives. In this connection the committee calls on the Member States to provide all European citizens with the same legal guarantees concerning the protection of privacy. The Member States are also urged to ensure that their legislation on the operations of their intelligence services is consistent with the European Human Rights Convention and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. In addition, says the committee, they should endow themselves with binding instruments which afford effective protection against all forms of illegal interception of their communications.

The motion for a resolution argues that all the national parliaments should have a body responsible for scrutinising the activities of the intelligence services. In addition the Member States should pool their communications interception resources with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the ESDP in the areas of intelligence gathering and the fight against terrorism 'subject to monitoring by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission'. In addition Germany and the UK are asked to make the authorisation of any further communications interception operations on their territory by US intelligence services conditional on certain requirements.

The committee stresses the importance of fostering awareness of security problems among the public and companies so that they understand the potential risks and the need to protect themselves against the danger of having their communications intercepted. A number of practical proposals are made to this end. For example the Commission and the Member States are urged to support the development of European encryption software. The Commission is asked to take a range of measures: to have a security analysis carried out, to update its encryption system, to ensure that data is protected in its own data processing systems and to improve the protection of secrecy in relation to documents not accessible to the public. Lastly the Commission is requested to put forward a proposal to establish, in close cooperation with industry and the Member States, a European-wide and coordinated network of advisory centres to deal with issues relating to the security of information held by firms, with the twin task of increasing awareness of the problem and providing practical assistance. Companies themselves are urged to cooperate more closely with counter-espionage services and particularly to inform them of any suspected attacks from outside.

03.07.2001 Temporary Committee on Echelon In the chair: Carlos COELHO (EPP-ED, P) Rapporteur. Gerhard SCHMID (PES, D)
Press enquiries:Patrick Baragiola - tel. (32-2) 28 43251 e-mail: directinfo@europarl.eu.int

Minority Opinion of Maurizion Turco (Lista Emma Bonino) for the European Parliament 
Temporary Committee on Echelon report, 05 July, 2001. Note also the second minority opinion drafted by 
Ilka Schroeder MEP (Germany) and signed by MEPs Alima Boumediene-Thiery (France) and Patricia McKenna (Ireland)

European Parliament resolution on the existence of a global system for the interception of private 
and commercial communications
(ECHELON interception system), July 4, 2001

In May 2001, the European Parliament Temporary Committee on Echelon released a draft report

ZDNet News, US officials snub EU Echelon fact finders, 11 May 2001, at http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/2001/18/ns-22756.html 
An EU team investigating Echelon, the US-run surveillance system allegedly used to help US companies win foreign contracts, was yesterday snubbed by the Bush administration. A delegation from the European Parliament investigating the existence and impact of a global satellite surveillance system operated by the United States and other English-speaking allies abruptly ended a fact-finding visit to Washington, DC, yesterday, after some Bush administration officials refused to meet with the group. Leaders of the European Parliament's Temporary Committee on Echelon -- the name of the alleged surveillance system -- said they had meetings planned with the State Department and Commerce Department's Advocacy Center, an office that helps US companies win foreign contracts, that were abruptly cancelled without a "satisfactory" explanation. 

While no firm meetings were set up, committee officials said Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency officials also had indicated ahead of time that they may be willing to meet with the delegation, but refused to do so, saying such a meeting would be "inappropriate," the committee's chairman Carlos Coelho said. Coelho said during a news conference that he was "concerned and dismayed" by the refusal of the agencies to meet with the delegation. In a statement made during a meeting with House Intelligence Committee leaders on Wednesday, Coelho said the US officials' refusal to meet with the delegation "can only increase the suspicion that there is indeed something to hide." The committee also met with officials from the Justice Department. Coelho said he wanted to discuss with the national security officials allegations that the United States has used the Echelon system, which is allegedly being run in cooperation with Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, to engage in economic espionage aimed at helping US companies. 

The committee is expected to release a report on its investigation at the end of the month, and the full parliament, the legislative branch of the European Union, may discuss the panel's recommendations in September. "Given the nature of the allegations which have been made about
Echelon, economic espionage and so on, it was extremely important that the United States authorities had the opportunity to respond," Coelho said. In particular, the committee leaders said they had documents showing that the CIA has met with the Commerce Department's Advocacy Center and wanted to know why a spy agency would meet with an office set up to help US businesses compete globally. Gerhard Schmid, the parliament member responsible for developing the committee's report on the investigation, said there may be a legitimate reason for why the CIA was involved with the center, but questioned "why can't such a debate take place."  Both NSA and CIA officials have denied that the United States is engaged in industrial espionage. And even the European Parliament officials acknowledged that the committee has not substantiated any of the allegations. "I recognise that it is standard practice for some countries to use their intelligence services to conduct economic espionage, but that is not the policy or practice of the United States," George Tenet, the director of central intelligence, testified last year before the House Intelligence Committee. 

A CIA spokeswoman said the agency never made any promises that it would meet with the European Parliament delegation and that any information it could provide to them has already been stated publicly. She added when asked about whether the CIA met with the officials from the Advocacy Center that the CIA meets with different agencies for a variety of reasons and has stated "clearly" that it does not engage in economic espionage to provide unfair advantage for US companies. A NSA spokeswoman gave a similar response, saying, "We respectfully declined the EU request. We believe our director's testimony before the US intelligence oversight committees last year provides a synopsis of the NSA's position on the issues at hand." The United States has never formally acknowledged the existence of Echelon, a global system for intercepting satellite communications. But both Coelho and Schmid said they have no doubt that it does exist. "Yes it exists and we can prove it," Schmid said. "It can have good purposes and can be misused." Schmid pointed to the existence of special antennas on US military bases around the world that are only used, he claims, for intercepting satellite communications. Schmid was asked why the committee is so concerned given that it has been widely known for years that countries intercept satellite communications. He responded that this may be true but that citizens in countries that conduct such activities are often protected by their own constitutions, but there is nothing to protect them against the activities of other countries. When asked what can be done about the situation, Schmid said he would recommend that EU countries encourage businesses to do more to protect their communications through the use of encryption and other means. He also suggested that the World Trade Organization adopt a requirement that members agree not to spy against foreign companies. 


The Guardian, Britain is untrustworthy, say MEPs in spy inquiry, April 25, 2001.

Yaman Akdeniz appeared in front of the European Parliament, Temporary Committee on the ECHELON interception system
during the meeting of Thursday, 22 March, 2001, Brussels. Read the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) statement submitted to the European Parliament. (pdf version with footnotes is also available) See the agenda for the meeting and a number of documents for the meeting are also available. For further information about the Echelon interception system see http://www.cyber-rights.org/interception/echelon/ 

EU Echelon Committee Documents

For 22 January, 2001 see the following documents:

AGENDA
Nº OJ
REF. TYPE DOCUMENT / AUTHOR
DOCUMENT / AUTEUR
LANGUAGES AVAILABLE
LANGUES DISPONIBLES

1

PE 294.995

OJ

OJ 22-01-2001

es da de el en fr it nl pt fi sv

2

PE 294.991/REV

PV

Meeting 20-21/11/2000 – Brussels

es da de el en fr it nl pt fi sv

PE 294.994

DV

Interventions M. Maserel and M. Paecht

de en fr

PE 294.998

CM

Rapport d´une commission parlementaire italienne sur Echelon

es da de el en fr it nl pt fi sv

--

DV

Signals, desperately seeking … par J. Richelson

en

4 PE295.500 CM Presentation by M. Bo Elkjaer and M. Kenan Seeberg

es da de el en fr it nl pt fi sv

AD=opinion/avis | AM=amendments/amendements | CM=notice to Members/communication aux membres | DT=working document/document de travail | OJ=agenda/ordre du jour | PA=draft opinion/projet d'avis | PR=projet de rapport/draft report | PV=minutes/procès-verbal

For 05 February, 2001 see the following documents:

AGENDA
Nº OJ
REF. TYPE DOCUMENT / AUTHOR
DOCUMENT / AUTEUR
LANGUAGES AVAILABLE
LANGUES DISPONIBLES

1

PE 300.128

OJ

OJ 05-02-2001

es da de el en fr it nl pt fi sv

3

-

DV

Relative security of cryptographic systems and its impact on society B Pruneel and J. Vandewalle

en

PE 300.129 DV Letter from the Dutch minister of Defence (19-01-2001)

es da de el en fr it nl pt fi sv

PE 300.130 CM Note from the Dutch minister of Defence (January 2001) (extracts)

es da de el en fr it nl pt fi sv

AD=opinion/avis | AM=amendments/amendements | CM=notice to Members/communication aux membres | DT=working document/document de travail | OJ=agenda/ordre du jour | PA=draft opinion/projet d'avis | PR=projet de rapport/draft report | PV=minutes/procès-verbal

For 05 March, 2001, see the following documents:

AGENDA
Nº OJ
REF. TYPE DOCUMENT / AUTHOR
DOCUMENT / AUTEUR
LANGUAGES AVAILABLE
LANGUES DISPONIBLES

1

PE 300.132

OJ

Ordre du jour

es da de el en fr it nl pt fi sv

AD=opinion/avis | AM=amendments/amendements | CM=notice to Members/communication aux membres | DT=working document/document de travail | OJ=agenda/ordre du jour | PA=draft opinion/projet d'avis | PR=projet de rapport/draft report | PV=minutes/procès-verbal

See also the related STOA Study for the European Parliament - No EP/IV/B/STOA/98/1401

Development of surveillance technology and risk of abuse of economic information
VOL 1 1) Presentation of the four studies
2) Analysis: Data protection and human rights in the European Union and the role of the European Parliament.
(PDF 240KB)
VOL 2 Interception Capabilities 2000 (PDF 1026 KB)  
VOL 3 Encryption and cryptosystems in electronic surveillance: a survey of the technology assessment issues (PDF 276 KB)  
VOL 4 The legality of the interception of electronic communications: a concise survey of the principal legal issues and instruments under international, European and national law
(PDF 121 KB)
 
VOL 5 The perception of economic risks arising from the potential vulnerability of electronic commercial media to interception (PDF 91 KB)  
 

Cyber-Rights.Net Launch - November 2000, http://www.cyber-rights.net

Cyber-Rights.Net Forms Alliance with Hush Communications to offer HushMail Private Label to Internet users.

Leeds, UK & Dublin, Ireland—(November 01, 2000) Cyber-Rights & Cyber -Liberties (UK) have partnered with Hush Communications to campaign against the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIP) 2000, which passed into law in October this year. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act outlines the extended reach of the UK government’s law enforcement and security agencies in regards to the monitoring and interception of communications across the Internet, and government access to encryption keys. Similar proposals are currently being discussed by the Council of Europe which would give law enforcement agencies extended powers and capabilities for Internet monitoring in more than 40 countries.

In an effort to raise public awareness of these important policy issues and to encourage Internet users to use secure communications, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) are launching the Cyber-Rights.Net project. The project offers Internet users HushMail Private Label, an encrypted email solution, that employs Hush’s patent-pending Hush Encryption Engine ™. With HushMail Private Label, Cyber-Rights.Net will be able to offer its visitors and users end-to-end secure email through, http://www.cyber-rights.net. HushMail Private Label fully integrates Hush’s roaming key pair management technology into the Cyber-Rights.Net system enabling its users to send and receive secure mail from any location with access to the Internet throughout the world.

Mr. Yaman Akdeniz, Director, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) stated:

"Both the Website and project promote privacy of communications and hope to raise awareness for security on the Internet. In the absence of clearly defined conditions and safeguards protecting the privacy of communications in homes and in working environments, it is time for the individual to take action and protect their communications. Cyber-Rights.Net will be an additional tool for concerned Internet users when securing their communications."

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) is dedicated to the promotion of secure and private communications over the Internet and has been influential in the national and international policy making process.

Jon Matonis, CEO of Hush Communications said, "We are excited to be a part of the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties project. HushMail Private Label will offer Cyber-Rights.Net users the most secure and user-friendly email solution available on the market today. From everyday Internet users to legal and medical professionals, Hush protects online communications."

From its inception, Hush Communications has been dedicated to the privacy rights. The company’s core technology was specifically developed to protect the communications and transactions of anyone with access to the Internet. While Hush offers a variety of products and services for sale, its flagship product, HushMail.Com (www.hushmail.com), provides fully encrypted, Web-based email, free of charge, to the general public. Hush posts its source code for review and download at www.hush.ai.

About Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) (http://www.cyber-rights.org), is a non-profit organisation established to protect the interests of all honest, law abiding Internet users with the aim of promoting free speech and privacy on the Internet. It was founded in 1997 and has been actively involved with the Internet policy-making process of the UK government, the European Union, Council of Europe, OECD, and the United Nations.

About Hush Communications Corporation

Hush is the premier provider of encryption products and services in the secure communications industry. The company’s SDK, Software Developer Kit, allows other Web-based infrastructure companies and application providers to design product and service offerings that utilise the Hush Key Server Network. Hush has strategic alliances with Netsmart (www.netsmart.com), NetNation Communications (www.netnation.com) and Security Portal (www.securityportal.com), and its investors include OffRoad Capital Corporation (www.offroadcapital.com). Hush Communications is the leading market share for encryption key management services and has users in every country in the world. Hush Communications Corporation is a U.S. company with subsidiary companies located in Dublin, Ireland; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Austin, Texas and is the provider of HushMail.Com, HushMail Private Label, and HushPOP with worldwide headquarters based in Dublin, Ireland.

Contact Details

Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)

Mr. Yaman Akdeniz,
Director, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)
Url:
http://www.cyber-rights.org
E-mail:
lawya@cyber-rights.org
Tel: +44 (0)7798 865116

Dr. Louise Ellison, Deputy Director of Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK)
Tel: +44 (0) 118 9875123 (ext. 7507)
E-mail:
lawlee@cyber-rights.org

Hush Communications

Genevieve Van Cleve
Ciara Hudson

22 Upper Pembroke St.
Dublin 2, Ireland
Phone: +353-1-241-0367
Fax: +353-1-241-0370

genvc@hushmail.com

ciara@hushmail.com


Echelon committee starts work
The Temporary Committee on Echelon, chaired by Carlos COELHO (EPP-ED, P), started work on Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 September, when it held talks with Commissioners António VITORINO (responsible for justice and home affairs) and Erkki LIIKANEN (enterprise and the information society) respectively.

Mr Vitorino stressed the need to guarantee and protect fundamental civil rights, for which purpose the laws governing wiretapping and data surveillance would have to be harmonised. As to whether Echelon actually existed, the Commissioner would not give a direct answer. Instead he joked: 'I believe in God and Echelon but have never met either'. The committee's rapporteur, Gerhard SCHMID (PES, D), was concerned that privacy was being violated not only by illegal cases of wiretapping but also by similar activities authorised by the courts. He highlighted the problems that could be caused by the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by the intelligence services, pointing out that there were major differences between the Member States in this area. The intelligence services were governed by national law and it was therefore national authorities which decided whether their activities were legal or legitimate.

Speaking the next day, Mr Liikanen said that data protection was dependent on the design and use of reliable encryption systems. A high degree of protection was essential, he said, if the public was to trust and use the new information and communication technologies - and trust was a prerequisite for the development of such technology. He therefore believed that existing directives on data protection should be updated to cover electronic communications and not just telephone and
fax messages, as was currently the case. As to whether Echelon existed, Mr Liikanen would only say that the technology which would enable such activities to be carried out did exist. In reply to Mr Coelho, who asked what the Commission planned to do with regard to Echelon, the Commissioner ruled out the idea of setting up a task force within the Commission itself, preferring to leave the initiative with Parliament's Temporary Committee on Echelon.

During the meeting the committee also adopted the work programme presented by its rapporteur, Mr Schmid, who said 'if one wishes to make political judgments it is essential to know what one is talking about'. For this reason he proposed that the committee begin by hearing from technical experts before hearing from politicians. The aim would be to find out whether a comprehensive surveillance system was really technically possible in the first place.

11.09.2000 Temporary Committee on Echelon Chaired by Carlos COELHO (EPP-ED, P)
Press enquiries:
Patrick Baragiola - tel. (32-2) 28 43251 e-mail: directinfo@europarl.eu.int


"Yes, there is well a vast system of interception and data processing named Echelon. It is organized in a network. It is about the only known multinational system.
Yes, the capabilities of such a system are real and they make it powerful, taking into account the multiple vulnerabilities of communication and information systems. The development of the network was based on the development of technical skills and the installation of multiple installations. It has profited from important investments in personnel and equipment for nearly forty years. It should be added however that its capabilities have reached their limits, not only because most technological evolution is no longer in the explosion of the communications in the world but also because some targets have learned how to protect themselves from interceptions.
Yes, the Echelon system 'diverged' compared to its initial objectives, which were basically related to the context of the cold war and by expanding the conditions of the initial UKUSA pact among the five partners. It is not impossible that information collected is used against foreign and economic policies of other nations, even against certain members of the Atlantic Alliance. If evidence is lacking to demonstrate industrial espionage, the remarks of former persons in charge of intelligence agencies constitute an admission.
Yes, bilateral cooperation was organized among the United States, the UKUSA and other intelligence services for reasons of national security related to military needs or the need for fighting terrorism or organized crime.
Yes, Echelon can constitute a danger to public and individual freedoms. For this reason, its existence poses many problems and thus requires suitable answers. Indeed, it would be useless to imagine that the Member States of the Echelon network cease their activities. The system evolves, changes and adapts. Several indicators seem to encourage belief that a new system was developed to exceed the limits of Echelon thanks to new technological means and undoubtedly of new partnerships." per Arthur Paecht, Deputy, French National Assembly (This translation is from http://cryptome.org/)

Frenchelon Revelations in French: N° 2623 - ASSEMBLÉE NATIONALE, CONSTITUTION DU 4 OCTOBRE 1958, ONZIÈME LÉGISLATURE - Enregistré à la Présidence de l'Assemblée nationale le 11 octobre 2000. RAPPORT D'INFORMATION DÉPOSÉ en application de l'article 145 du Règlement PAR LA COMMISSION DE LA DÉFENSE NATIONALE ET DES FORCES ARMÉES, sur les systèmes de surveillance et d'interception électroniques pouvant mettre en cause la sécurité nationale, et présenté par M. Arthur PAECHT, Député, at http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/2/rap-info/i2623.htm

Computer User, Daily News
http://www.computeruser.com/news/00/10/19/news4.html
Criminal Complaint Filed Against "Super-Spy" Phone System
By Steve Gold, October 19, 2000
A Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Berlin has filed criminal complaints in Germany against the international Echelon computer surveillance network. Unlike the recently vilified Carnivore Internet monitoring system installed on most U.S. Internet Service Provider (ISP) servers, the Echelon system is shrouded in secrecy. Thought to have been created in the 1940s by the United States and UK governments, the system is now known to monitor most voice and data traffic circulating in most West countries. Reports suggests that it can legally do this by side-stepping national anti-surveillance legislation by requiring, for example, the U.S. government's National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor UK comms traffic, and, similarly, using the UK's security agencies to monitor U.S. comms traffic. In her complaint, Ilka Schrvder, a Green Party Member of the European Parliament (MEP) cited "unknown suspects especially from the US and Great Britain, as well as possibly the German Federal Government, for operating and tolerating the Echelon network." According to German media reports, Schrvder filed the complaints Monday with the German Federal chief public prosecutor, as well as public prosecutors' offices in Berlin and, perhaps significantly, in Traunstein. The Traunstein office covers the Bavarian town of Bad Aibling, where a monitoring station is generally reported as being operated by the NSA. Schrvder, who serves as a substitute member of the European Parliament committee which is investigating Echelon, referred to a report commissioned by the committee, which confirmed that Echelon is monitoring private and business telephone calls, faxes, and e-mail messages in Europe, including in Germany. This is not the first time that Echelon has come into the legal firing Line.. Back in February, reports suggested that the French government was considering lawsuits on privacy grounds, alleging that the international Echelon super-spy network monitored French companies, diplomats and ministers. The Echelon network has been talked about in security circles for several years, but its existence was most recently confirmed in November, 1999, when the BBC reported that an Australian government official had confirmed the network actually existed.

At the time, the BBC reported that Bill Blick, Australia's inspector general of intelligence, confirmed that his country's Defence Signals Directorate forms part of the Echelon network. "As you would expect there are a large amount of radio communications floating around in the atmosphere, and agencies such as the DSD collect those communications in the interests of their national security," Blick told the BBC. Asked if information is then passed on to the United States or the UK, Blick replied that "in certain circumstances" it was. The BBC report followed hard on the heels of an attempt on Oct. 22, 1999, to swamp the Echelon network with subversive e-mails. In that incident, Internet users from around the world launched an e- mail campaign against the NSA in an attempt to flood the agency's alleged computer surveillance system. Reports of the time suggested that the protesters were upset at NSA's apparent scanning of e-mails in an attempt to identify potential terrorists. In the United States, a recent CBS-TV report on the show "60 Minutes" reported that the system may have been used to spy on the phone conversations of the late Princess Diana, at a time when she was spearheading an effort to ban landmines worldwide. Echelon's existence has been discussed in security circles for almost a decade, but its existence was only brought to public attention in early 1997 by Covert Action Quarterly (CAQ), a quarterly intelligence newsletter, which revealed details of the global telecommunications surveillance system. According to the newsletter, Echelon is a top secret alliance involving the NSA's telecoms surveillance system and other government networks that allows the bulk of the civilized world's telephone calls to be digitized and analyzed using intelligent text searching technology.

CAQ said that Echelon monitors virtually all phone calls in the United States and Europe, including the UK, effectively making a mockery of the UK's Interception of Communications Act. The newsletter added that Echelon is used to keyword search e-mail, fax, telex and all types of voice communications, including analog and digital cellular phone calls. "Unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the Cold War, Echelon is designed primarily for non-military targets: governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals in virtually every country. It potentially affects every person communicating between (and sometimes within) countries anywhere in the world," the newsletter said. The newsletter added that the existence of Echelon was inadvertently revealed by the New Zealand government, which joined the Echelon network in the 1960s. The four other main members of Echelon are the US' NSA, the UK's GCHQ, Canada's Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and Australia's Defence Signals Directorate (DSD). The newsletter said that Echelon started life as a UK-US government co-operative initiative in the Second World War. After the war, the agreement was formalized in 1948, when the UK and the US agreed to tackle intelligence gathering against the USSR. Central to Echelon are the Echelon dictionaries, which are compiled by the five main member's intelligence agencies. Each intelligence agency holds copies of all of the other member's dictionaries, which contain details of keywords that the respective intelligence agency is interested in. Each agency's computer system scans all available telecoms and data traffic in its region. Where another agency's keyword is found in the digital data stream, the relevant text or data is automatically forwarded to the appropriate agency's computer system. This means, the newsletter said, that the originating agency's staff never get to see the relevant data--only the agency with the appropriate keyword receives the transmission. CAQ claims that the relevant agencies' headquarters processing Echelon data surveillance files are located in Washington, Ottawa, Cheltenham, Canberra, and Wellington.

CAQ's Web site is at http://www.worldmedia.com/caq. Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com.

9/16/00 Eur. Rep. 502
EU TEMPORARY COMMITTEE ON ECHELON ADOPTS ITS WORK PROGRAMME.
Meeting in Brussels on 12 September to finalise their work programme, MEPs on the Temporary Committee on Echelon set up by the European Parliament earlier this Summer indicated that they are keen to interview members of the United States Congress responsible for intelligence. They propose initially to review technical issues, notably whether a telecommunications interception system such as Echelon is rumoured to operate, is technically feasible.It should be recalled that whilst a Temporary Committee has the power to request interviews with State representatives, it cannot coerce them into attending. Committee spokesman Gerhard Schmidt (PES, Germany) indicated that if members were able to decide, they would interview every single member of the US House of Representatives and Senate responsible for intelligence. He further indicated that the Committee is keen to question the Director of America's National Security Agency (NSA). Committee Chairman Carlos Coelho (EPP, Portugal) declared that consultations with technical experts should begin on 12 October.The Temporary Committee on Echelon was established on 5 July. Comprising 36 members, it has a mandate to ascertain the existence of a global communications interception system known as Echelon, the activities of which were described in a report by the European Parliament's Scientific and Technological Options Assessment (STOA) group on the development of surveillance technologies and the risk of abuse of economic information. The Committee will also seek to ascertain whether such a system is compatible with Community law, guarantee that European citizens' rights are protected against secret service activities, and asses the risks such a system poses to European industry. The Committee can, if necessary, propose political and legislative initiatives.

9/13/00 Newswire (VNU) EU draws up blueprint of Echelon inquiry
The European Parliament's temporary committee last week held its first meeting to draw up a plan of action on how it will prove the Echelon 'spy system' exists, and what steps can be taken to limit its influence. Fears over Echelon were first raised in a European Parliament report earlier this year, when Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said the UK and the US had denied the network was used for industrial espionage.However, the European Union (EU) was not reassured and set up a temporary committee this July, giving it a year to verify the existence of Echelon and assess its compatibility with European law. The 36-strong committee will look at whether the rights of European citizens are protected against theactivities of the secret services and whether encryption is an adequate protection to guarantee privacy. The committee will also examine whether European industry is put at risk by global interception of communications, and discuss how EU institutions can be made better aware of the risks posed by the activities ofthe secret services and what measures can be taken. Following last week's meeting, the committee has determined which areas it will study and has requested that any businesses which think they have been targeted through the Echelon system to contact it.EU officials told vnunet.com that a specially securedarea within the EU network, with an extra firewall, had been isolated to confidentially store packet data relating to Echelon.The committee said it will establish what is known about Echelon, what has been discussed about it in other parliaments, which intelligence agencies operate within the EU and which agencies might intercept communications systems. The group will also look at what levels of protection encryption offers, what economic espionage has taken place, whohas been targeted and whether they have protected themselves against further intrusions, and the legal position regarding privacy.

Associated Press, September 12, 2000, EU echelon probe set to ask top US officials to testify
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - Senior members of the European Union committee investigating the alleged U.S.-led Echelon spy network said Tuesday they want American intelligence chiefs to testify in the coming months. European Parliament Vice President Gerhard Schmid, a German who is a senior member on the committee investigating Echelon, said he would like to see the U.S. National Security Agency head, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, come before the committee to discuss how the NSA gathers intelligence and whether it is involved in economic espionage on European companies.

"If it's up to me, we will have American representatives, perhaps even U.S. senators and the director of the NSA," Schmid told reporters.

In testimony before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee in April, both Hayden and Central Intelligence Agency Director George Tenet denied
reports the United States was involved in spying on Europeans and Americans as part of a satellite surveillance network. Committee chairman Carlos Coelho of Portugal said that a list of industry experts, politicians, U.S. and EU officials would be called before the committee. Schmid didn't rule out calling former CIA Director James Woolsey, who earlier this year admitted the United States secretly collects information on certain European companies.

"This is a subject area full of ... consequences. We will not be ruling anything out," Coelho said.

The Echelon issue surfaced in February when a European Parliament report outlined the practice of the network. It said Echelon comprises surveillance-interception stations across the globe that intercept "billions of messages per hour," including telephone calls, fax transmissions and private e-mails. The EU Parliament set up the special probe in July. National inquiries have also been launched in France and Denmark. The spy network is said to include Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand and is alleged to be led by the American intelligence agency, the NSA. A report by British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell urged the EU to take action to protect against interception of communications, insisting the intercepts violated human rights and could be used for industrial espionage. Hearings into echelon got underway Monday and continued Tuesday as EU commissioners appeared before the committee.

European Enterprise Commissioner Erkki Liikanen said he could not deny the existence of Echelon, but said the EU would shortly implement
new encryption and data protection rules to improve privacy rights to help deter eavesdropping.

"I'm convinced we need to guarantee the encryption industry in Europe ... To guarantee security of industry, governments, and citizens," he told the 36-member committee. The special committee will have eight months to investigate whether the spy system violates EU privacy laws and will also look into countermeasures and possible sanctions against nations participating in Echelon. Coelho said he expects the committee to submit a list of possible witnesses before the next hearing scheduled for Oct. 12.


EU Parliament Decision to set up a temporary committee of inquiry

Doc. : B5-0594/2000, Vote : Wednesday 5 July 2000: Parliament voted to set up a Temporary Committee on the Echelon interception system.

The Temporary Committee will have 36 Members:

Mary Elizabeth BANOTTI (EPP/ED, IRL), Christian Ulrik von BOETTICHER (EPP/ED, D), Charlotte CEDERSCHIÖLD (EPP/ED, S), Carlos COELHO (EPP/ED, P), Gérard DEPREZ (EPP/ED, B), Giorgos DIMITRAKOPOULOS (EPP/ED, GR), Jorge Salvador HERNANDEZ MOLLAR (EPP/ED, E), Eva KLAMT (EPP/ED, D), Hugues MARTIN (EPP/ED, F), Arie OOSTLANDER (EPP/ED, NL), Ana PALACIO VALLELERSUNDI (EPP/ED, S), Hubert PIRKER (EPP/ED, A), W.G. VAN VELZEN (EPP/ED, NL) and Stefano ZAPPALA' (EPP/ED, IT); Maria BERGER (PES, A), Robert EVANS (PES, UK), Anna KARAMANOU (PES, GR), Catherine LALUMIERE (PES, F), Torben LUND (PES, DK), Erika MANN (PES, D), Manuel MEDINA ORTEGA (PES, E), Reino PAASILINNA (PES, FIN), Gerhard SCHMID (PES, D), Gianni VATTIMO (PES, IT), Jan Marinus WIERSMA (PES, NL); Antonio DI PIETRO (ELD, I), Colette FLESCH (ELD, L), Elly PLOOIJVAN GORSEL (ELD, NL); Ozan CEYHUN (GREENS/EFA, D), Neil MacCORMICK (GREENS/EFA, UK), Patricia McKENNA (GREENS/EFA, IRL); Giuseppe DI LELLO FINUOLI (EUL/NGL, I), Alain KRIVINE (EUL/NGL, F); Georges BERTHU (UEN, F); Maurizio TURCO (TDI, IT); Bastiaan BELDER (EDD, NL).

The committee will be instructed to verify the existence of Echelon, an interception system that is reported to be used by the secret services of the US, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand to intercept all telecommunications. It will also be required to determine whether such a system is compatible with Community law, in particular where the public's right to be protected against secret service activities is concerned. The committee will be asked to investigate whether encryption can provide adequate protection for the privacy of members of the public. It will also look into whether European business interests are being or might be harmed by the system by way of economic espionage. Lastly, the committee will, where appropriate, be authorised to submit policy and legislative proposals.

Before the vote, Timothy KIRKHOPE (EPP/ED, UK) drew attention to two investigations into Echelon that had been set up in France by the public prosecutor and the French secret service. He sought an assurance from the French government that the French investigations would not form any obstacle to investigations by the European Parliament. Francis WURTZ (EUL/NGL, F) considered that the very existence of the French investigations had overturned the main objection to a committee of enquiry hitherto, viz. that no enquiry could be held into the secret services. Paul LANNOYE (GREENS/EFA, B) held to his preference for a committee of enquiry, and considered that the argument that communications had to be open to interception in order to combat serious crime was irrelevant in this connection, since any such action required a legislative framework. Graham WATSON (ELDR, UK) considered that investigations should not be confined to Echelon but should also extend to other systems that could violate personal privacy.


B5-0593/2000: Decision of 5 July 2000 setting up a temporary committee on the ECHELON interception system

The European Parliament,

  1. Decides to set up a temporary committee with the following powers:
  2. Decides that the temporary committee will have 36 members, whose names are annexed to this decision.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Composition of the temporary Committee on the ECHELON interception system is at http://www.europarl.eu.int/tempcom/echelon/en/members.htm

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: provisional Agenda for the temporary committee on the ECHELON interception system (5.7.2000 - )

06.07.2000 10:30-11:30 Constituent meeting
Strasbourg
LOW S2.1
05.09.2000 17:30-19:00 Strasbourg
11.09.2000 15:00-18:30 Brussels
12.09.2000 9:00-12:30  
12.10.2000 15:00-18:30 Brussels
22.11.2000 15:00-18:30 Brussels
23.11.2000 9:00-12:30  

The Committee can be contacted via dg2-echelon@europarl.eu.int

Related STOA Study · European Parliament Publications - No EP/IV/B/STOA/98/1401

VOL 1   1) Presentation of the four studies
2) Analysis: Data protection and human rights in the European Union and the role of the European Parliament.
(PDF 240KB)
VOL 2   Interception Capabilities 2000 (PDF 1026 KB)
VOL 3   Encryption and cryptosystems in electronic surveillance: a survey of the technology assessment issues (PDF 276 KB)
VOL 4   The legality of the interception of electronic communications: a concise survey of the principal legal issues and instruments under international, European and national law
(PDF 121 KB)
VOL 5   The perception of economic risks arising from the potential vulnerability of electronic commercial media to interception (PDF 91 KB)

BBC News, Echelon: Big brother without a cause?, 6 July, 2000,

Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, part of the Echelon spy system

Critics accuse the United States' intelligence community and its English-speaking partners of waging what is in effect a new Cold War. At stake are international contracts worth billions of dollars, and at the disposal of the spymasters is an intelligence gathering system of immense power. The Echelon spy system, whose existence has only recently been acknowledged by US officials, is capable of hoovering up millions of phone calls, faxes and emails a minute. Its owners insist the system is dedicated to intercepting messages passed between terrorists and organised criminals.

But a report published by the European Parliament in February alleges that Echelon twice helped US companies gain a commercial advantage over European firms. Duncan Campbell, the British intelligence expert and journalist who wrote the report, raises the prospect that hundreds of US Department of Commerce "success stories", when US companies beat off European and Japanese commercial opposition, could be attributed to the filtering powers of Echelon. Listening in Echelon evolved out of Cold War espionage arrangements set up by the US and UK in 1948, and later bringing in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, in their capacity as Britain's Commonwealth partners. The biggest of Echelon's global network of listening posts is at Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, where about 30 "giant golf balls" called radomes litter the landscape. The system also boasts 120 American satellites in geostationary orbit.

Bases in the five countries are linked directly to the headquarters of the secretive US National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Mead, Maryland. The system's superpowerful voice recognition capability enables it to filter billions of international communications for whatever key words or word patterns are programmed in. Mr Campbell believes that when the Cold War ended, this under-employed intelligence apparatus was put to use for economic gain. "There's no safeguards, no remedies, " he said. "There's nowhere you can go to say that they've been snooping on your international communications. It is a totally lawless world."

Aggressive advocacy

The journalist, who has spent much of his life investigating Echelon, has offered two alleged instances of US snooping in the 1990s, which he says followed the newly-elected Clinton administration's policy of "aggressive advocacy" for US firms bidding for foreign contracts. The first came from a Baltimore Sun report which said the European consortium Airbus lost a $6bn contract with Saudi Arabia after NSA found Airbus officials were offering kickbacks to a Saudi official. The paper said the agency "lifted all the faxes and phone-calls between Airbus, the Saudi national airline and the Saudi Government" to gain this information. Mr Campbell also alleges that the US firm Raytheon used information picked up from NSA snooping to secure a $1.4bn contract to supply a radar system to Brazil instead of France's Thomson-CSF.

Frank admission

The US strenuously denies passing on commercial information to individual US firms, saying that there are clear laws to prevent it. But former CIA director James Woolsey, in an article in March for the Wall Street Journal, acknowledged that the US did conduct economic espionage against its European allies, though he did not specify if Echelon was involved. However, he poured scorn on the Campbell allegations that the US was using its technological edge to gain unfair advantage in international business. "We have spied on you because you bribe," the ex-CIA boss wrote. "(European) products are often more costly, less technically advanced or both, than (their) American competitors'. As a result (they) bribe a lot." But that is not an argument that will have much influence among concerned European countries, which are currently investigating the threat or otherwise posed by the world's most powerful intelligence-gathering machine.

Wednesday July 5, 2000 - EU Assembly to Investigate U.S. 'Spy System'

STRASBOURG, France , See further http://fullcoverage.yahoo.com/fc/World/Espionage_and_Spying/

(Reuters) - The European Parliament voted Wednesday to form a committee to investigate allegations the United States and allies like Britain used Cold War satellites to conduct industrial espionage in Europe. The U.S. Echelon spy system of satellites and listening posts can intercept millions of telephone, fax and e-mail messages and Washington has been accused of using it for economic espionage against its allies. The United States and Britain have both denied the charges. The EU committee will have one year to establish whether the Echelon system really exists and whether European industry has been damaged by global interception of communications. It will also consider whether the privacy of individuals can be protected from spying and how this can be done. Assembly members said the committee was expected to be headed by Portuguese deputy Carlos Coehlo and would aim to report back on its findings in about eight months.

The existence of the Echelon system and allegations it was used to help U.S. firms gain a competitive advantage over their European competitors surfaced in a report to the assembly earlier this year, provoking a furor throughout Europe.

The French prosecutor's office said Tuesday it had appointed a prosecutor to launch a preliminary judicial investigation into the workings of Echelon, set up during the Cold War. Other inquiries have been initiated or are being discussed in Germany and Denmark, European Parliament officials said. But the allegations have turned into a diplomatic nightmare at a time European nations are planning to pool defense capabilities and preparing to launch a global satellite positioning system, called Galileo. A report submitted to the European parliament by a British researcher last October said Echelon's eavesdropping activities had resulted in several major contracts going to U.S. rather than European firms. The Parliament, which has extremely limited powers over European foreign and security policies, was split on how to handle the issue. It rejected a proposal to set up a ``temporary committee of inquiry,'' which could have called witnesses, in favor of a ''temporary committee,'' which in theory has more limited powers.

Wednesday July 5, 2000, EU: Wider Probe of U.S. Spies, By CONSTANT BRAND, Associated Press Writer

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The European Parliament voted Wednesday to widen a probe into an alleged U.S. spy network that many assembly members say Washington is using to snoop on the businesses of its European allies. A special committee will immediately begin investigating the so-called Echelon spy system, which is believed capable of intercepting billions of phone calls, e-mails and faxes per hour worldwide. U.S. intelligence officials have never publicly confirmed the existence of such a system. They have denied eavesdropping on ordinary American and European citizens.

The European Parliament committee will be mandated with trying ``to verify the existence'' of the system and investigating whether the spy system violates European Union privacy laws. The special committee will have eight months to investigate and will also look into countermeasures and possible sanctions against nations participating in Echelon, said Graham Watson, chair of the citizens rights committee of the parliament, which represents the European Union's 15 members.

The committee will seek cooperation from the U.S. Congress, which had hearings of its own in April, Watson said.

A report by the parliament in February alleged the United States uses Echelon to monitor European businesses and has passed on information to help U.S. companies gain competitive advantage. Former CIA director James Woolsey has acknowledged the United States has secretly collected information on European companies, but said it only did so when companies were suspected of violating U.N. sanctions or offering bribes to gain business.

The new investigation comes after months of debate in the 626-member European Parliament following the February report, which described a spy network comprised of surveillance stations around the globe. The stations - located on U.S. territory and also Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - listen in and intercept ``billions of messages per hour,'' the report said. It has caused outrage among many Europeans and led to a flurry of national parliamentary inquiries by several EU countries.

French authorities, which have been the most critical of Echelon, have started a full-scale investigation of their own.

Members of the European Parliament led by the German Green Party had sought stronger powers for the new investigation, but their motion was voted down by the full assembly. The motion would have given investigators the power to order witnesses to testify, which the Greens had hoped to use to compel several U.S. officials, including CIA Director George Tenet and Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, head of the National Security Agency, to testify before the committee. Both have denied reports the United States was involved in spying on Europeans and Americans as part of a satellite surveillance network in testimony to the U.S. Congressional House Intelligence Committee.

Is it acceptable for the Post Office to send your mail to MI5 to read before dropping it through your letter box? Probably not. The mail has always had a universally accepted notion of privacy. Yet as most human communications move into the electronic sphere, privacy is under attack as never before. In this detailed look at government cyber-snooping, ZDNet draws on the strengths of our global news network, with articles from ZDNN writers in the UK, US, Germany and France. Leading investigative reporter, Duncan Campbell, introduces 'Echelon -- World under watch'. - June 2000

EU To Widen Echelon Spy Probe, Associated Press, March 29, 2000

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- Many Europeans fear Big Brother has been watching them for decades. Now, they are starting to find out whether a vast U.S.-led espionage network has been snooping into their lives. The European Parliament opens a probe Thursday into allegations of economic espionage by the U.S.-led Echelon network, accused of snooping on European business communications in a controversial report last month. The report sent shivers up the spines of many Europeans, especially in Brussels, where key economic and political decisions are made at European Union headquarters.

It painted the picture of an elaborate spy network, masterminded in Washington, eavesdropping on phone calls, faxes and e-mails in the pursuit of commercial gain. Echelon, a vast global network of electronic monitoring stations, was created in the 1970s as part of an intelligence-gathering agreement between the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to monitor the activities of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. After the demise of the Soviet threat, Echelon's extensive surveillance operation did not evaporate but actually increased its monitoring capabilities worldwide, the report said. It said new threats to national security like terrorism and organized crime continued to drive the thirst for information. But political, commercial and diplomatic intelligence were also intercepted, frequently via new communication technologies like the Internet and mobile phones. "We have to ask ourselves what the security threats are,'' said Robert Evans, vice chairman of the European Parliament's Committee on Citizen's Freedoms and Rights. "We are not in an era of massive secrecy any more,'' since the Cold War is over.

The U.S. National Security Agency, which is believed to head Echelon, said last month in a letter to the U.S. Congress that it could "neither confirm nor deny the existence of specific operations.'' "However we can tell you that NSA operates in strict accordance with U.S. laws and regulations,'' it said. In an interview with the French daily Le Figaro on Tuesday, former CIA director James Woolsey admitted the United States secretly collects information on European companies, but denied giving it to their U.S. competitors. Woolsey said the operations were limited to companies that violate United Nations sanctions or use bribery or other unethical practices to gain more business.

However, even in the United States, some are not convinced. "More needs to be done to establish the scope and impact of unlawful monitoring,'' said Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C. Yaman Akdeniz of the British Cyber-Rights and Cyber-Liberties group likened the Echelon spy network to "something out of George Orwell's '1984.''' "This is happening in our democratic societies. The genie is now out of the bottle,'' he said, warning that "we cannot rely on governments anymore for protection.'' "If you want to do business you must take security seriously,'' especially in the high-tech communications sector, Akdeniz said.

Heidi Hautala, a leader of the Green Party, which has spearheaded the investigation, urged European businesses to "rapidly develop their own technology and encryption systems to defend themselves against the attacks which are conducted in the name of the universal security interests of the United States.'' "The big challenge is to get governments to talk on this ... it is all veiled in secrecy,'' Hautala said.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON ECHELON

ACLU Launches ECHELON Watch Website (16 November, 1999) - The American Civil Liberties Union, in conjunction with Omega Foundation, EPIC, and Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) has launched a new web site at http://www.echelonwatch.org, which is designed to focus public attention on the threats to civil liberties which are posed by Project ECHELON.

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 1 Nov 1999 (pt 9) - FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS (Echelon System)

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the impact on civil liberties of the Echelon system; [96547]

(2) if he will make a statement on the purpose of the Echelon system. [96548]

Mr. Robin Cook: As the hon. Gentleman is aware, it is long-standing practice not to respond to speculation on alleged intelligence operations.

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 14 Jun 1999 (pt 5) - PRIME MINISTER (Echelon System)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Prime Minister what representations the Government have received from European Community institutions regarding the deployment of the Echelon system; and if he will make a statement. [86725]

The Prime Minister: None.

14 Jun 1999 : Column: 17

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 7 May 1998 (pt 15) (Echelon System)

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the uses of the Echelon system. [40454]

Mr. Robin Cook: No. It is long-standing practice not to respond to allegations about the details of intelligence operations.

 

Lindsay, G., "The Government Is Reading Your E-mail: With the Echelon program, the U.S. and its allies are collaborating to monitor the Internet," Time Digital Daily, June 24, 199, at http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/digital/daily/0,2822,27293,00.html

Poole, P., U.S. spy agency rejects oversight Claims attorney-client privilege in document request," WorldNet Daily, June 4, 1999, at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_exnews/19990604_xex_us_spy_agenc.shtml. See the Goss Report (from the US Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence) mentioned at http://jya.com/nsa-clash.txt. See further the testimony of Rep. Barr's Testimony Congress at http://jya.com/echelon-barr.txt

Verton, D., "Congress, NSA butt heads over Echelon," Fedral Computer Weekly, June 3, 1999, at http://www.fcw.com/pubs/fcw/1999/0531/web-nsa-6-3-99.html

Duncan Campbell, "Australia first to admit 'we're part of global surveillance system'," Telepolis, 28 May, 1999, at http://www.heise.de/tp/english/inhalt/te/2889/1.html

European Parliament-sponsored reports which have been prepared as follow-up to the 1998 "Appraisal of the Technologies of Political Control."
The four-part series is titled "Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information (an appraisal of technologies of political control)," April and May 1999.

Echelon: Interception Capabilities 2000 Report:

European Parliament's STOA Research Programme commissioned a research into the DEVELOPMENT OF SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY AND RISK OF ABUSE OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION (An appraisal of technologies for political control).

Part 4/4 of the above report written by Mr. Duncan Campbell - IPTV Ltd - Edinburgh is now available and the report is mirrored through the Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) pages for wider dissemination:

The state of the art in Communications Intelligence (COMINT) of automated processing for intelligence purposes of intercepted broadband multi-language leased or common carrier systems, and its applicability to COMINT targeting and selection, including speech recognition, April PE 168.184 / Part 4/41999.

Press Release: 7 May 1999 for Interception Capabilities 2000 ("IC2000"): The IC2000 report on communications interception and ECHELON was approved as a working document by the Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel of the European Parliament (STOA) at their meeting in Strasbourg on 6 May 1999.

This report has been written by Mr. Duncan Campbell, IPTV Ltd, Edinburgh, and he may be contacted through + 44 131 656 6566.

Key findings of the IC2000 report

· Comprehensive systems exist to access, intercept and process every important modern form of communications, with few exceptions (section 2, technical annexe);

· The report provides original new documentary and other evidence about the ECHELON system and its role in the interception of communication satellites (section 3). In excess of 120 satellite based systems are currently in simultaneous operation collecting intelligence (section 2). Submarines are routinely used to access and intercept undersea communications systems.

· There is wide-ranging evidence indicating that major governments are routinely utilising communications intelligence to provide commercial advantage to companies and trade.

· Although "word spotting" search systems to automatically select telephone calls of intelligence interest are not thought to be effective, speaker recognition systems in effect, "voiceprints" have been developed and are deployed to recognise the speech of targeted individuals making international telephone calls;

· Recent diplomatic initiatives by the United States government seeking European agreement to the "key escrow" system of cryptography masked intelligence collection requirements, forming part of a long-term program which has undermined and continues to undermine the communications privacy European companies and citizens;

· Interception for legally authorised domestic interception and interception for clandestine intelligence purposes must be sharply distinguished. A clear boundary between law enforcement and "national security" interception activity is essential to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

· Providing the measures called for in the 1998 Parliamentary resolution on "Transatlantic relations/ECHELON measures may be facilitated by developing an in-depth understanding of present and future Comint capabilities. Protective measures may best be focused on defeating hostile Comint activity by denying access or, where this is impractical or impossible, preventing processing of message content and associated traffic information by general use of cryptography.

· In relation to the manner in which Internet browsers and other software is deliberately weakened for use by other than US citizens, consideration could be given to a countermeasure whereby, if systems with disabled cryptographic systems are sold outside the United States, they should be required to conform to an "open standard" such that third parties and other nations may provide additional applications which restore the level of security to at least that enjoyed by domestic US customers.

· It should be possible to define and enforce a shared interest in implementing measures to defeat future external Sigint activities directed against European states, citizens and commercial activities.

See further

The original 1988 ECHELON report by Duncan Campbell - "Somebody's listening," New Statesman, 12 August, 1988, cover, pages 10-12.

Poole, P., ECHELON: America's Secret Global Surveillance Network, at http://fly.hiwaay.net/~pspoole/echelon.html

Winslow Peck, former NSA analyst, Ramparts interview on NSA electronic interception, (1972) at http://jya.com/nsa-elint.htm

Farah, J., "The darker side of Echelon," WorldNet Daily, 19 August, 1998, at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/bluesky_btl/19980819_xcbtl_the_darker.shtml

James Bamford, The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency, London: Penguin, 1983. Excerpts: Chapter 8 - Partners, Chapter 9 - Competition, Chapter 10 - Abyss.

William Burrows, Deep Black: Space Espionage and National Security, New York, Random House, 1987. Excerpt: Chapter 8 - Foreign Bases: A Net Spread Wide

Jeffrey T. Richelson, The U.S. Intelligence Community, New York, Ballinger, 1989. Excerpts: Chapter 8 - Signals Intelligence, Chaper 12 - Exchange and Liaison Arrangements

Intelligence Online report on UKUSA cooperation (1996): http://www.blythe.org/Intelligence/readme/brits-usa.int45

Nicky Hager, Covert Action Quarterly article on ECHELON, 1998, at http://jya.com/echelon.htm


Nicky Hager, Secret Power - New Zealand's Role in the International Spy Network, Craig Potton Publishing, PO Box 555, Nelson, New Zealand. First published 1996, at http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/sp/index.html. See Foreword by David Lange, Foreword by Jeffrey Richelson, Chapter 1 1984, Chapter 2 Hooked up to the spy network: the UKUSA system.

The Cryptome - John Young's cypherpunk archive

The National Security Agency Web site: http://www.nsa.gov:8080

Related US Office of Technology Assessment reports on electronic surveillance, 1972-1996: http://jya.com/esnoop.htm


Mark Urban, UK Eyes Alpha: The Inside Story of British Intelligence at http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/alpha/index.html - Chapter 5 1986/7 the ZIRCON Affair is at http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/alpha/zircon.htm

Intelligence e-Prints at http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/

Paul Wolf's Echelon Links

Codename: Echelon

Echelon: Online Surveillance

FAS Intelligence Programs and Systems - Excellent resource and background information. See also the Intelligence News.


ENFOPOL related papers and articles

Department of Trade and Industry, Promoting Electronic Commerce: Consultation on Draft Legislation and the Government’s Response to the Trade and Industry Committee’s Report, July 1999, House of Commons, Cm 4477.

40.The draft EU Council Resolution on interception of new technologies (the so-called ENFOPOL proposals) supplements the existing Council Resolution of January 1995 on the lawful interception of communications. It makes clear that the law enforcement agencies’ requirements annexed to the 1995 Resolution apply equally to new technologies such as satellite and Internet communications.

41.Council Resolutions are not legally binding. The 1995 Council Resolution, for example, has not been incorporated into UK law. It is used solely as a basis for discussions with telecommunications operators in accordance with the statutory safeguards contained in the Interception of Communications Act 1985 (IOCA). It follows that if adopted, the present draft Resolution on interception of new technologies would place no legal obligations on telecommunications or Internet Service Providers in the UK.

42.The Government submitted an Explanatory Memorandum to Parliament on the draft Resolution on 8 February 1999 (10951/2/98 ENFOPOL 98 Rev 2). In fact, the Government sees little need for the draft resolution at the present time. The Government’s consultation document on the review of IOCA published on 22 June, includes consideration of the needs of law enforcement agencies in respect of providers of new communication technologies such as the Internet and satellite telephony. The proposal for a draft Resolution will not prejudice this consultation process.

"Recommendation 2/99 on the respect of privacy in the context of interception of telecommunications" - A Document adopted by a working party of the DGXV of the European Commission, 3 May, 1999 (DG XV 5005/99 WP18). The purpose of this recommendation is to indicate how the principles on the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons, and in particular of their privacy and the secrecy of their correspondence, is to be applied to the measures concerning the interception of telecommunications adopted at European level. This recommendation covers interception understood in a broad sense, i.e. not only of the contents of telecommunications, but also of any related data, particularly any preparatory measures (such as monitoring and datamining traffic data) which may be envisaged in order to determine whether intercepting the contents of a telecommunication is advisable . A PDF version of this document is at http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg15/en/media/dataprot/wpdocs/wp19en.pdf

Report on the draft Council Resolution on the lawful interception of telecommunications in relation to new technologies (10951/2/98 - C4-0052/99 - 99/0906(CNS)) - The important parts of this report are in "bold". See further the European Parliament debates in relation to the Schmid Report and especially note how this initiative has been criticised by Ms. Patricia McKenna, a member of the European Parliament from the Ireland Green Party.

Duncan Campbell, "The Enfopol 98 Affair," Telepolis, 29 April, 1999, at http://www.telepolis.de/tp/english/special/enfo/6397/1.html

Duncan Campbell, "Special Investigation: ILETS and the ENFOPOL 98 Affair," Telepolis, 29 April, 1999, at http://www.telepolis.de/tp/english/special/enfo/6398/1.html

ENFOPOL 98, Rev 1, Draft Council Resolution on New Technologies, Brussels, 4 November 1998 (10951/1/98 ), at http://www.telepolis.de/tp/english/special/enfo/6389/1.html

ENFOPOL 19 - From the Presidency of the European Union to the Police Cooperation Working Party, Subject: Interception of telecommunications -- Draft Council Resolution on new technologies. March 15, 1999. This document was obtained by the London based Foundation for Information Policy Research through the European Union.

Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti, "ENFOPOL to pass European Union Council before 27 May 1999," Telepolis, 09 March, 1999, at http://www.telepolis.de/tp/english/special/enfo/6381/1.html

Erich Moechel, "European Union Ministers Approve ENFOPOL Digital Surveillance Plans," Telepolis, 09 March, 1999, at http://www.telepolis.de/tp/english/special/enfo/6380/1.html

Enfopol Papers, 1: ENFOPOL 98, 03.09.1998 - in German and not available in English. However, see the below articles in relation to these papers.

ENFOPOL Timeline 1991-1999, compiled by Duncan Campbell, Erich Moechel, Christiane Schulzki-Haddouti. Additional data provided by Statewatch, Telepolis, 10 March, 1999, at http://www.telepolis.de/tp/english/special/enfo/6382/1.html

See also the Telepolis special section on Enfopol papers.

From C 13/32 EN 18.1.1999 Official Journal of the European Communities - (1999/C 13/043) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1402/98 by Gerhard Hager (NI) to the Commission, (7 May 1998)

Subject: Enfopol
According to press reports, an organization known as ‘Enfopol’ has been set up at European level under the third pillar which, it is claimed, will have a far-reaching impact on technological development with fundamental implications for human rights, and which is said to be assembling a comprehensive bugging and surveillance system. Enfopol is reported to be forwarding draft letters and dozens of memoranda of understanding to governments and undertakings in the computer and communications industry containing recommendations setting out how telecommunications technologies should be structured so as to make any person communicating by way of worldwide data and telephone networks capable of being placed under permanent surveillance (APA 229, 27.2.1998).

Is Enfopol’s existence known to the Commission? On what legal basis and under what legislative enactment was Enfopol set up?
For what purposes was Enfopol set up and what is its remit?
What forms of democratic control is this organization subject to?
What Enfopol recommendations and memoranda have been adopted hitherto?
What is their subject matter and what are the reference numbers?
How can the Commission reconcile the foregoing with national data-protection rules?
What implementing measures have since be laid down by the Member States?
How does the Commission view the compatibility of these arrangements with Austrian law?

Answer given by Mrs Gradin on behalf of the Commission - (2 July 1998)
The Commission is not aware of any organisation under the name Enfopol. That acronym is used by the Secretariat General of the Council for the purpose of identifying documents dealing with police cooperation, circulated in the framework of the competent instance of the Council. Interception of telecommunications for the purpose of law enforcement has been on the agenda of the Council for years. The latter adopted on 17 January 1995 a resolution containing a number of requirements of law enforcement agencies for the technical implementation of legally authorized interception in modern telecommunications systems. Work is presently in progress in Council on the issue of encryption. The Honourable Member should address any further question on these issues to the Council.

Simon Davies, "Europe plans huge spy web," Daily Telegraph, 07 January, 1999.

Duncan Campbell, "ENFOPOL Plans Provoke Strong Opposition," Telepolis, 31 December, 1998, at http://www.heise.de/tp/english/inhalt/te/1738/1.html

Armin Medosch, "The European Secret Service Union," Telepolis, 30 November, 1998, at http://www.telepolis.de/tp/deutsch/special/enfo/6329/1.html

Erich Moechel, "The European Surveillance Union," Telepolis, 20 November, 1998, at http://www.telepolis.de/tp/deutsch/special/enfo/6328/1.html

STOA Interim Study, An Appraisal of the Technologies of Political Control, an Omega Foundation Summary & Options Report for the European Parliament, September 1998. Executive Summary at http://www.europarl.eu.int/dg4/stoa/en/publi/166499/execsum.htm. The full report is available through http://www.jya.com/stoa-atpc-so.htm and http://www.nrc.nl/W2/Lab/Echelon/stoa2sept1998.html


Go back to Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK) home page.