Echelon Spy Network Secrets To Be Revealed in Megaupload Copyright Case


There was a lot of buzz a decade or so ago about Echelon, an international electronic surveillance network said to link the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. A flurry of stories covered the connections among the five countries, speculation about the network's capabilities, and rumors about Echelon's targets in a post-Cold War world. The European Parliament even produced a report (PDF) discussing the the potential risks the spy system posed to the European Union. Then, as with all such things, public attention shifted elsewhere and most people lost interest in an old-hat international surveillance system. Now, Echelon is re-entering the headlines, and we are likely to learn more about the network's capabilities than conspiracy fans ever dreamed possible, all because of the copyright case against the defunct online storage company, Megaupload.

In the increasingly bizarre case unfolding in Hobbit-land, we learned months ago that the Government Communications Security Bureau, New Zealand's equivalent of the National Security Agency, illegally spied on eccentric former Megaupload chief, Kim Dotcom. The New Zealand government did so at the behest of its American friends, and apparently shared real-time intelligence with U.S. officials. Befuddled judges in New Zealand, seeking to discover just how far down the rabbit hole government officials went in their efforts for an intellectual property case, now want to know the whole story. From the New Zealand Herald:

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