December 11, 2012
There was a lot of buzz a decade or so ago about Echelon, an international electronic surveillance network said to link the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. A flurry of stories covered the connections among the five countries, speculation about the network’s capabilities, and rumors about Echelon’s targets in a post-Cold War world. The European Parliament even produced a report (PDF) discussing the the potential risks the spy system posed to the European Union. Then, as with all such things, public attention shifted elsewhere and most people lost interest in an old-hat international surveillance system. Now, Echelon is re-entering the headlines, and we are likely to learn more about the network’s capabilities than conspiracy fans ever dreamed possible, all because of the copyright case against the defunct online storage company, Megaupload.