ECHELON is a name used to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States). It has also been described as the only software
system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.
ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s
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