Saturday, December 24, 2005

Sure, it's EASY to make fun of the Americans ...

... but when it comes to spying on one's own citizenry, Canada also has some explaining to do. I refer, of course, to the ECHELON program (emphasis added):

In the greatest surveillance effort ever established, the US National Security Agency (NSA) has created a global spy system, codename ECHELON, which captures and analyzes virtually every phone call, fax, email and telex message sent anywhere in the world. ECHELON is controlled by the NSA and is operated in conjunction with the Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) of England, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) of Canada, the Australian Defense Security Directorate (DSD), and the General Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) of New Zealand. These organizations are bound together under a secret 1948 agreement, UKUSA, whose terms and text remain under wraps even today.

The article at that link is a few years old and it's been a while since I've looked into ECHELON, so maybe it's time to revisit the issue. Unless someone else out there has already done it?


Anonymous said...

While not directly pertaining to the precursor of ECHELON, Michael Frost, an ex-CSE employee, wrote a book called SPYWORLD in 1994, detaling a brief history of Canada's involvement in SIGINT.

Essentially there has been an agreement between the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand going back to the start of the cold war. The laws of these countries don't (generally) allow domesting spying, thus each country's foreign intelligence agency spies on the others, and then the information gathered is exchanged.

Alison said...

From wikipedia on Echelon :

"The following are various intelligence gathering stations of US intelligence agencies and armed forces or their allies.

Alert (Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada)
Gander (Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada)
Leitrim (south of Ottawa, Canada)
Masset (British Columbia, Canada)"

We agreed to this under NORAD 50 years ago and I agree it does seem time to revisit our complicity here.