Although the world's largest listening network is run by UKUSA, more than 30 other nations operate Sigint agencies. Russia, France and other nations have worldwide electronic intelligence networks.
Recently, British and American government officials have responded to French accusations of industrial electronic spying by claiming that France also operates a major network spying on satellite communications -- a system they have dubbed "Frenchelon".
Below is the first-ever, exclusive picture of the main French satellite interception station, located near Bordeaux. This Sigint station at Domme targets satellites over the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It is run by the technical division of DGSE, the French intelligence service.
Exclusive to ZDNet UK News, the first picture of Frenchelon
Even smaller European nations such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland have recently constructed small, Echelon-like stations to obtain and process intelligence by eavesdropping on civil satellite communications.
Go to ZDNet's Echelon Special
The British are keeping a stiff upper lip, the US simply avoid mentioning it and the French believe it has been stealing secrets from France for years. Go to the TalkBack forum to tell us what you know and think about Echelon.
Rupert Goodwins reckons we've allowed a state surveillance system to be built that would be the envy of any dictator, and we've allowed it to flourish unseen and uncontrolled. What we must do now is to start building pressure for a wholesale reform of Echelon: not to shut it down and render ourselves deaf to real threats but to improve its efficiency and make it ours again, not the plaything of nameless people. Go to AnchorDesk UK for the news comment.