Listening In

The U.S.-led ECHELON spy network is eavesdropping on the whole world

Indeed, says York University's Whittaker, "there's a really important degree of [economic] tension that wasn't there during the Cold War. On the other hand, most of the threats perceived as common and borderless--terrorism, nuclear proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, and global crime--inspire more cooperation between the UKUSA partners." Hager thinks such cooperation is certainly merited, but what ECHELON to some extent reflects, he believes, is the continued erosion of civil liberties and the notion of sovereignty in the name of security. "Some people I interviewed told me repeatedly, 'It's a good thing for us to be part of this strong alliance,' " he says. "What it amounts to, in the end, is an argument for being a cog in a big intelligence machine."

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