Episode 142: Project Echelon: Big Brother’s Tool Kit

Project Echelon

In this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we talk about the top-secret government surveillance system known as Project Echelon. Also known by the awesome code names of Stone Ghost and The Five Eyes, this project stemmed from the secretive UKUSA Agreement, which was a multilateral agreement for several nations to share signals intelligence with each other. The UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all shared intelligence information starting back in 1946 and running until the current day.

Echelon was the US software that decoded the data that the Five Eyes collects. It is run by the NSA, and it is the exact type of Big Brother, bulk data collection that Edward Snowden revealed to the public. However, it was operational for decades before Snowden even got hired as an intelligence analyst.

Echelon, according to an ex-operator named Mike Frost, collected all phone calls, faxes, emails, ATM transactions, radio and television broadcasts, short wave radio, and even wireless baby monitors for intelligence. With listening posts all over the world and 120 communication satellite dedicated to it, Echelon was said to gather all radiation and noise from around the world 24 hours a day.

This is one that we can’t even call a conspiracy theory because it is simply a fact. Journalists such as James Bamford, Duncan Campbell, and Jane Perron started to uncover Echelon in the late 1980s, and eventually the European Parliament started to formally investigate its use. The investigations came again in 2000, just before 9/11 when the European Union got even more information about Echelon’s use as a way to make sure American corporate interests benefited from the technology.

Who gained from the use of Echelon? How pervasive was it? Did Snowden talk about Echelon directly with his leaks? What corporations profited from Echelon? Listen, laugh, learn.

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