Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/09/06/eu_releases_echelon_spying_report/

EU releases Echelon spying report

It exists and the UK has a lot of explaining to do

By Kieren McCarthy

Posted in Media, 6th September 2001 17:04 GMT

The report by the European Union into the Echelon spying network, released yesterday, has concluded that not only does the network exist but that it can prove its existence. It also calls on the UK to pull out of the system - jointly run by the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia - to prove its commitment to the EU.

The huge 142-page report (with another 54 pages in annexes) is available here, but make sure you put enough paper in the printer first.

The report criticises the UK for its part in Echelon and asks it to explain itself. It also calls for a new treaty to be drawn up which the US, Australia and New Zealand are forced to sign. The treaty basically says no one is going to do anything naughty such as industrial espionage.

The report also recommends that organisations encrypt emails as a matter of course and hopes that encryption will become the norm. It encourages the adoption and enhancement of open-source software for the job.

We haven't had time to go through it all yet, but the basic aspects of it are as follows:



The main recommendations made in the report are:



While the report doesn't hold back, it's all a matter of politics how seriously the recommendations are taken and how much force is put behind them. There is no way in hell that the UK is going to rescind its relationship with the US, or get it to sign up to an EU-created treaty. However, the report may be used to embarrass the UK. Especially since other countries, in particular France, are really annoyed that their systems aren't as good.

What the report has done is raised awareness of the problem and by strongly encouraging the use and investment in encryption software, it is liable to make Echelon's job a thousand times harder.

More on all this later. ®

Related Links

A link to the report
News of the Echelon report
European Parliament Temporary Committee on the Echelon Interception System
Echelon FAQ

Related Stories

Europe should tackle home-grown Echelons, says MEP
Euro Parliament calls Echelon a paper tiger
US expands Echelon spying in UK
What are those words that trigger Echelon?
An Outlook worm to jam NSA's Echelon
CIA patching Echelon shortcomings
French Echelon report says Europe should lock out US snoops
Euro Parliament to investigate Echelon