Friday, May 12, 2006

What's New WIth ECHELON?

So what with the NSA's apparent collection of data telling them that we called Sears, and that some marketing research firm called you...and that you actually DO speak with your relatives and friends (wow, hey...)

That reminded Levin that there IS such a thing as Echelon.

But to find out what the bad guys are up to, all electronic communications, including those of the good guys, must be captured and analyzed for key words by super computers. That is a fact that makes Frost [a Candian Intelligence officer] uncomfortable, even though he believes the world needs intelligence gathering capabilities like Echelon. "My concern is no accountability and nothing, no safety net in place for the innocent people who fall through the cracks," he tells Kroft.

As an example of those innocent people, Frost cites a woman whose name and telephone number went into the Echelon database as a possible terrorist because she told a friend on the phone that her son had "bombed" in a school play. "The computer spit that conversation out. The analystwas not too sure what the conversation was referring to, so, erring on the side of caution, he listed that lady," Frost recalls. (CBS News Report, March 1, 2000.)

Makes one wonder. How many Packer fans are in the Echelon database for hoping that Brett would "throw the bomb" over the phone?

And another thing: does this account for the travel difficulties encountered by a business friend of mine who can't get through an airport without visiting the Security types? There is NO APPARENT REASON for his trouble. None. He doesn't carry weapons; usually takes day-trips, paid by credit card (round trips,) lives in Milwaukee, and is native-born US citizen.

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