Echelon, The Secret Power

Director: David Korn-Brzoza

France 2002. Colour. English/French with English subtitles. 82mins.

The information war is only beginning
The X-Files meets George Orwell in this fast-paced, special effects-laden documentary that exposes Echelon, an international spy network developed by the US National Security Agency. A powerful and secretive force, the Echelon group is made up of intelligence units in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. According to Nicky Hager, the New Zealand journalist who exposed Echelon’s secret power in the mid ’90s, the Echelon system is used to intercept ordinary e-mail, fax, telex, and telephone communications carried over the world’s telecommunications networks. Unlike many of the electronic spy systems developed during the Cold War, Echelon is designed primarily for non-military targets: governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals in virtually every country. It potentially affects every person communicating between (and sometimes within) countries anywhere in the world. This powerful, co-ordinated security system maintains its power through highly undemocratic activities. Big Brother is watching, listening and responding. Hot Docs Festival 2003.

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