Escaping from ECHELON
By Dark Politricks
How funny is it that Edward Snowden has released information that shows the outcries of European nations to be false, hypocritical and superficial at the very least.
It has been known for over a decade that the main western nations including the US, UK, Canada, Australia and to a lesser extent Germany and other Euro nations were engaged in massive data collection through the ECHELON system.
I remember reading about it back when I had just left school. Trying all the online tests to “prove” that emails were being re-routed by keyword analysis.
I remember one such test involved sending two emails. The first with known flagged keywords such as bomb or AK47 and then another without. The first email was supposed to arrive in your other inbox after the second one due to it having been re-routed and checked by the ECHELON system. Checking timestamps on spoofed emails mentioning bombs and guns was a fun way to spend an afternoon at school.
Anyone who knows about ECHELON knows that the idea was that countries would spy on each other and then share the data to bypass laws preventing the countries snooping on their own citizens. However that all seems to have changed since 9.11. Now they just hoover up the data and our politicians claim it’s for our own safety and that “sufficient oversight” exists to prevent mis-use of the technology.
Yes and I believe everything our Home or Foreign Secretary says….
Apparently in this free for all, data grabbing world, real sim cities are being built by the NSA/GCHQ nexus. It seems they are trying to replicate a whole world on their super computers so that they can monitor our behaviour and spot when someone acts outside their “natural boundaries”. This could be shopping at a different store than usual, driving a new route to work or speaking to different people on or offline.
All our data is combined, merged and analysed. The lines between private and state data monitoring no longer exist.
Those Tesco points you have been earning are most likely filling up just one section of your own virtual profile at GCHQ – don’t dare to go on a diet suddenly, they might think you are acting “strangely” and upgrade your monitoring status a few grades!
As attested to by cryptome.org in a recent article they are literally creating computer models where each human being is a “node” to be measured and monitored.
By combining all the various pieces of private, public and stolen data from the cables that take all the telecom communications under the Atlantic from the UK to the USA, the NSA & GCHQ can literally virtualise our lives and then run models to predict what would happen in certain scenarios.
What would be the normal behaviour of society if the water or electricity was cut off for 3 days?
Who would be likely to riot or take to the Internet and demand changes?
What groups of people are more likely to complain about their situation when taxes are increased than others?
What quantity of benefits and state handouts does it take to produce a dumbed down nation of uninquisitive fools?
What about a terrorist attack or police shooting?
It is getting to the stage that your actions can be accurately predicted and any variation from the norm is automatically noticed, flagged and probably checked for signs of malcontent.
Just as they know I have time to write a couple of articles for this blog a week, drive a certain way to work, shop at local stores and like the odd flutter on the horses they would know the same about you without having to do too much data analysis. Give me enough data points and a big enough database and I could probably write a half decent programme to do the same.
I can only imagine the tools available to the GCHQ coders.
Plus it doesn’t really help our cause when we are so keen to hand over our data to known intelligence agency linked companies such as Microsoft or Google. Got a Facebook page? Comments and quotes all logged and flagged. Mentioned anything about the government lately? Maybe you are already halfway towards getting your name onto a watch-list. Visited anyone in Pakistan lately? Your probably on at least a few already!
When Google analyses your email contents and search terms to show “appropriate” advertising just think what the NSA and GCHQ are analysing with their super computers. They don’t want to show you adverts, that’s for sure.
So whilst some of us have known about ECHELON for decades, to some the revelations coming from Snowden are a shock. However what we actually know is guaranteed to be only the tip of a humongous iceberg, the tip of which is scary enough, but we probably can’t even comprehend what is below the water line!
I am just waiting for the first properly real virtual world computer games.
Ones which people will flock to, thinking they can escape the drudgery of work and the meaningless lives they have.
Terrorists will probably meet up in virtual worlds just to chat, thinking they will escape real world monitoring.
It is only a matter of time until a true “Second Life” is produced.
One in which people can touch, taste and pretend they are something when their real life is nothing.
It might sound like fun, even idealistic.
The problem is, that when that day comes, you can safely assume that the NSA/GCHQ nexus will already have virtual informants to monitor your virtual life.
Escape? I don’t think we ever will.