You think the Internet brings grave new threats to privacy? Then you probably don't know about Echelon. Run by the supersecret National Security Agency, it's the granddaddy of all snooping operations.
Business and political leaders are waking up to the alarming potential of this hush-hush system. A combination of spy satellites and sensitive listening stations, it eavesdrops on just about every electronic communication that crosses a national border--phone calls, faxes, telexes, and E-mail--plus all radio signals, including short-wave, airline, and maritime frequencies. Echelon's globe-straddling system also listens in on most long-distance telecom traffic within countries. Ditto for local cell-phone calls.