If you phone, fax or email a friend to say “Let’s go see ‘Echeleon: The Secret Power,'” be advised, you’ll doubtless end up on a list somewhere. Juicy, entertaining and densely informative doc demonstrates the extent to which private communications are illegally and constantly spied on by the title network.
A powerful and secretive force, the Echelon group is made up of intelligence units in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. According to Nicky Hager, the New Zealand journalist who exposed Echelon’s secret power in the mid ’90s, the Echelon system is used to intercept ordinary e-mail, fax, telex, and telephone communications carried over the world’s telecommunications networks. 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.