Echelon's big ears pick up email whispers

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange is sceptical of email as a safe conduit, even Hushmail, the Canadian private email service. “It’s a honeypot,” he said, meaning that the security agencies watch it because it is private, and they look to see who is sending, to identify “persons of interest”.
As for regular electronic comms, “they read it all,” Assange says. That would give the lie to official assertions that the governments of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand had given up Echelon, the global electronic eavesdropping system. More likely they got a better one.
Downtime trusts that the web-like Echelon listening station on Ascension Island,  pictured last year in London’s Photographers’ Gallery, is still in operation, if only to pick up and relay calls from unlucky sailors in the Southern Ocean.