The ECHELON Trail: An Illegal Vision

2015-01-05T12:28:20Z (GMT) by Steve Wright
<p>This article tells the story behind the uncovering of the US operated global telecommunications interceptions system now known as ECHELON. It begins with the use of fieldwork techniques in the early 1970's exploring the configuration of Britain's Post Office Towers – these were ostensibly the microwave links through which Britain's long distance telephone calls were made. This modelling process revealed a system within the system of microwave towers linked to the American Base of Menwith Hill in the North York Moors. All the key researchers were then promptly arrested, a raid by Special Branch on the author's university at Lancaster ensued and later a show trail for the other main researchers, most notably Duncan Campbell. Eventually in 1988, Duncan wrote up the ECHELON story, which for its time was an incredible piece of detective work using materials lifted from waste bins by the women activists campaigning around the Menwith Hill Base. Little notice was taken until 1997 when an obscure book by Nicky Hager, Secret Power explained the role and function of ECHELON in more depth. The author represented these findings in a policy report to the European Parliament on the technology of political control that led to a process of political debate and disagreement of the ethics of such a system which continues even today.</p>




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