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The Age: Careful, they might hear you

May 26, 1999, 21:53 (22 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Duncan Campbell)

Every e-mail you write, every fax you send, is being scrutinized by the government.

"Australia has become the first country openly to admit that it takes part in a global electronic surveillance system that intercepts the private and commercial international communications of citizens and companies from its own and other countries."

"Together with the giant American National Security Agency (NSA) and its Canadian, British, and New Zealand counterparts, DSD operates a network of giant, highly automated tracking stations that illicitly pick up commercial satellite communications and examine every fax, telex, e-mail, phone call, or computer data message that the satellites carry."

"The five signals intelligence agencies form the UKUSA pact. They are bound together by a secret agreement signed in 1947 or 1948."

"Now, due to a fast-growing UKUSA system called Echelon, millions of messages are automatically intercepted every hour, and checked according to criteria supplied by intelligence agencies and governments in all five UKUSA countries. The intercepted signals are passed through a computer system called the Dictionary, which checks each new message or call against thousands of ``collection'' requirements."

Complete story.