Portal:Mass surveillance

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Mass Surveillance

This Portal is dedicated to Wikipedia's coverage of Mass surveillance. Mass surveillance is when governmental organisations or corporations engage in the intricate surveillance, or monitoring, of an entire or a substantial fraction of a population. Mass surveillance has been criticised for:

Currently, governmental organisations such as the NSA ( United States), CIA ( United States), GCHQ ( United Kingdom), RAW ( India), Mossad ( Israel), FSB ( Russia), PLA ( China), MISRI ( Iran) and BND ( Germany) amongst others engage in some degree of mass surveillance. Programmes such as PRISM and ECHELON that were revealed in documents leaked illegally by whistleblower Edward Snowden, have globalised mass surveillance by surveilling populations throughout the world, not limited to just one country. Since June 2013 when their existence was revealed to the world, there has been international debate regarding whether or not mass surveillance is a complete violation of the right to privacy. This portal is dedicated to Wikipedia's coverage of mass surveillance and the debate surrounding it.

Selected article

The Right to Privacy is a human right and an element of various legal traditions which may restrain both government and private party action that threatens the privacy of individuals.[1] Since the global surveillance disclosures of 2013, the inalienable human right to privacy has been a subject of international debate. Under the pretext of combatting 'terrorists', controversial agencies such as the NSA, CIA, RAW, GCHQ, and others have engaged in mass global surveillance, undermining the right to privacy. The violation of this so-called human right has come under the context of other human rights violations committed by Nato-member states (i.e. the unlawful detention of civilians at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Grahib, and other Black sites, and extraordinary rendition). There is now question as to whether the right to privacy can co-exist with the current capabilities of government agencies to access and analyse virtually every detail of an individual's life. A major question is whether or not the right to privacy needs to be forfeited as part of the social compact in order to bolster defence against alleged terrorist threats. (Full article...)

Featured Picture


The official logo of NROL-39, an American reconnaissance satellite operated by the National Reconnaissance Office and launched in 2013. This logo drew criticism following the ongoing surveillance disclosures; satirist Jon Stewart described it as the government "owning the fact that they are getting nefarious" with "a giant octopus sucking the face off North America". According to the NRO, the logo's "octopus [is] a versatile, adaptable, and highly intelligent creature" from which America's enemies cannot hide.

Selected programme

RAF Menwith Hill, a site with satellite downlink capabilities believed to be used by ECHELON.

ECHELON, originally a code-name, is now used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement[2] (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS[2] and Five Eyes).[3][4][5] It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.[6] It was created in the early 1960s to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War, and was formally established in the year of 1971.[7][8]

By the end of the 20th century, the system referred to as "ECHELON" had evolved beyond its military/diplomatic origins, to also become "... a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications."[9]

The system has been reported in a number of public sources. One of the earliest reports to describe the programme, code-named "ECHELON", was Duncan Campbell's 1988 article, "Somebody's listening", published in the New Statesman.[10] The programme's capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001,[9] and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States.[6] The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.[9]

Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.

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From new and recently improved content by Wikipedia's WikiProject Mass surveillance in recognition of The Day We Fight Back:

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  1. ^ The Privacy Torts
  2. ^ a b Given the 5 dialects that use the terms, UKUSA can be pronounced from "You-Q-SA" to "Oo-Coo-SA", AUSCANNZUKUS can be pronounced from "Oz-Can-Zuke-Us" to "Orse-Can-Zoo-Cuss".
    From Talk:UKUSA Agreement: Per documents officially released by both the Government Communications Headquarters and the National Security Agency, this agreement is referred to as the UKUSA Agreement. This name is subsequently used by media sources reporting on the story, as written in new references used for the article. The NSA press release provides a pronunciation guide, indicating that "UKUSA" should not be read as two separate entities. (The National Archives) (National Security Agency) Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "pronunciation" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ "UK 'biggest spy' among the Five Eyes". News Corp Australia. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Google booksEchelon by John O'Neill
  5. ^ "AUSCANNZUKUS Information Portal". auscannzukus.net. Retrieved 1 February 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Bamford, James; Body of Secrets, Anchor, ISBN 0-385-49908-6; 2002
  7. ^ "Q&A: What you need to know about Echelon". BBC. 29 May 2001. 
  8. ^ Nabbali, Talitha; Perry, Mark (March 2004). "Going for the throat". Computer Law & Security Review 20 (2): 84–97. doi:10.1016/S0267-3649(04)00018-4. It wasn't until 1971 that the UKUSA allies began ECHELON 
  9. ^ a b c Schmid, Gerhard (11 July 2001). "On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system), (2001/2098(INI))" (pdf – 194 pages). European Parliament: Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System. Retrieved 5 January 2013.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "EP" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  10. ^ Campbell, Duncan (12 August 1988). "Somebody's Listening". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 2007-01-03. Retrieved 16 September 2013.