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Echelon's Counterparts in the USA and abroad

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Echelon's Counterparts Last updated or verified on April 5, 2001

Other Governmental Surveillance Agencies

Russia
Russia has at least two official surveillance agencies. One agency, the Federal Security Service (Federal'naya sluzhba bezopasnosti, or FSB) not only possesses investigatory powers, but even has its own troops. FSB also is authorized to conduct intelligence operations inside and outside Russia to enhance "the economic, scientific-technical and defense potential" of Russia. Thanks to regulations such as SORM (System for Ensuring Investigated Activity), FSB essentially has the power to monitor Internet transmissions coming in and out of Russia. A recent article in the (UK) Times newspaper suggests "the network is already being abused for profit, theft and blackmail."

In addition, the Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information (Federal'noye agentstvo paravitel'stvennykh svyazi i informatsii, or FAPSI) apparently has unlimited technical capabilities for monitoring communications and gathering intelligence, including monitoring of private networks. It too has its own troops (estimated at 54,000).

People's Republic of China
The People's Republic of China (PRC) created a Ministry of State Security in 1983. Not surprisingly, one of its chief tasks is to stop "enemy agents, spies and counterrevolutionary activities designed to ... overthrow China's socialist system." To see a recent news item which details some of Communist China's latest moves in cyberspace, click here.

Germany
Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) has been engaged in intelligence gathering for nearly fifty years. Their official website is in German.

Israel
Israel actually has at least three official intelligence-gathering organizations, commonly known as Mossad, Shin Bet, and Aman. Mossad handles surveillance outside of Israel, while Shin Bet conducts surveillance inside the country. Aman is charged with military intelligence.

France
France's SGDN (Secretariat General de la Defense Nationale) conducts surveillance not only for the French government, but also passes pertinent information along to French private companies.

India
India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is tasked with "preservation of values in public life" as well as "ensuring the health of the national economy". Besides national security matters, CBI also coordinates investigations with Infopol.

Echelon's constituents

United States-National Security Agency (NSA)

United Kingdom-Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)

Canada-Communications Security Establishment (CSE)

Australia-Defense Signals Directorate (DSD)

New Zealand-Government Communications Security Bureau

Other surveillance systems

United States-Carnivore
This Internet surveillance program, which is currently being used by the United States government, is somewhat similar to ECHELON. Contrary to prior assertions, a subsequent government-commissioned review panel found that Carnivore is indeed capable of collecting all communications over the segment of the network being surveilled: "The results show that all TCP communications on the network segment being sniffed were captured by Carnivore." Moreover, the default configuration is to do just that: "When turning on TCP full mode collection and not selecting any port, the default is to collect traffic from all TCP ports."

European Union-Enfopol
Enfopol is a special document created with the blessing of a special European Union council. It lists various "technical requirements" that essentially would make it easier for law enforcement officials to wiretap European communications networks. Efforts are now underway to implement these standards in the telecommunications systems of EU member countries.

United States-CALEA
The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) generally requires telecommunications carriers both to modify their existing networks and to design and deploy new generations of equipment (including software), all to ensure that carriers can meet certain specified "capability" and "capacity" requirements related to the ability of authorized government agencies to engage in wiretapping.

United States-TEMPEST
Reports have indicated the existence of another NSA project that is designed to capture computer signals (such as keystrokes or monitor images) through walls or from other buildings, even if the computers are not linked to a network. Details about this project, which is apparently codenamed TEMPEST, are only just becoming available. One NSA document, entitled "Compromising Emanations Laboratory Test Requirements, Electromagnetics", was prepared by the NSA's Telecommunications and Information Systems Security group. It describes test procedures for measuring the radiation emitted from a computer -- both through radio waves and through telephone, serial, network, or power cables attached to it. A second document the NSA released describes the agency's "Technical Security Program," which is responsible for assessing electronic security and providing "technical security facility countermeasures."


 
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