News (?), Top-Secret (?), Latest revelation (?)
Strange, the EU was aware of the NSA (spying) global gathering of electronic data since 2001.  Sorry folks, this is not news.  I wrote about this several years ago in this forum under the title: Quantum Physics; Humor, Sensationalizing, Hard Science, Espionage

Part of this post is quoted below.


The point of this research is secure - quantum cryptography, quantum communication and quantum computing. What has developed is a quantum "arms race" among national groups that should be cooperating. On one side the English speaking world, US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand represented by ECHELON. On the other side the EU represented by SECOQC.

ECHELON is a name used by the global media to describe a intelligence collection and analysis network operated on behalf of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. You can visit their web site (but you can’t get in) at:

ECHELON was investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001. The EU committee produced a document from this investigation that you can download from:

This document describes the political and economic espionage potential of ECHELON based on the fact that this organization is capable of interception and content inspection of telephone communications, fax, e-mail and virtually all other data traffic.

The heart of ECHELON according to the EU committee are the various intelligence gathering organizations of the participating countries:


Defense Signals Directorate


Communications Security Establishment

New Zealand

Government Communications Security Bureau

United Kingdom

Government Communications Headquarters

United States

National Security Agency

Initially ECHELON was created to monitor the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies during the Cold War. It targeted military and diplomatic communications of that era. Even today this network has a valid mission, to search for terrorist plots, disrupt drug-dealers’ operations and monitor political and diplomatic communications from nations hostile to the group.

The EU committee report claims that ECHELON is also being used for large-scale commercial theft, inter-nation economic espionage and invasion of privacy. The EU feels targeted and has take specific actions including the development of quantum technology to protect itself. In a SECOQC news release (13) Dr. Christian Monyk states, "We will provide a tool, based on quantum technologies, which will enable economical enterprises to guard their assets against industrial espionage. In the past, significant financial losses due to industrial espionage had to be attributed to activities of the ECHELON communication surveillance and interception network. Our aim is to make a significant contribution to the independence and competitiveness of the European economy." Dr Monyk is head of the business unit at Quantum Technologies.

There is a basic investigative principal - follow the money. Both sides are investing heavily in quantum technology. In the U.S. a quantum cryptographic research project as a joint collaboration between Northwestern University and BBN Technologies of Cambridge, Mass., is supported by a five-year, $5.4 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.(14) In the EU funding of 11.4 million Euros has gone to SECOQC, a consortium of 41 participants from twelve countries consisting of twenty-five universities, five national research centers, and eight private enterprises. (15)

Both sides are claiming a first in quantum communication. In the EU, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) (16) made its real-world debut in Geneva, Switzerland for use in one of the electronic voting systems used in the Swiss general election last year.(17) The test of the technology demonstrated that QKD worked for point-to-point secure communication. In the U.S. BBN has built and demonstrated what they are calling "the world’s first quantum network," using a quantum data encryption protocol called AlphaEta, delivering end-to-end key distribution via high-speed QKD since 2004.(18) The combined QKD/AlphaEta system has been demonstrated in a nine kilometer link between BBN headquarters and Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. In one test, the AlphaEta encrypted signal was looped back multiple times to create an effective 36 kilometer link where more than 300 consecutive key exchanges were demonstrated, this is not your traditional network.

SECOQC’s researchers believe thay have solved the network issue. The researchers are currently putting the final touches to a demonstration of the technology to be held this October 2008 in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Monyk, of the SECOQC project and head of the quantum-technologies unit at the Austrian Research Centres said, "Network quantum encryption and QKD mean that many parties can communicate securely, not just two. Finally, it also means quantum encryption could be deployed on a very large scale, for the insurance and banking sectors" (19) I can not imagine the NSA walking away from this challenge, some day we will read of the obvious flaws in quantum encryption and secure QKD.



(14) Northwestern University (2006, August 29). First Quantum Cryptographic Data Network Demonstrated. Science Daily, Retrieved May 14, 2008, from

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the 1960's developed the communication protocol that is the backbone of today’s internet.

(15) ibid 12

(16) Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) exploits the unique properties of quantum mechanics to securely distribute electronic keys between two parties, unlike traditional key distribution which can be intercepted. The "key" is heart of encrypted communication, it encrypts the message to be sent and decodes the message that is received

(17) ICT Results (2008, April 29). Beating The Codebreakers With Quantum Cryptography. Science Daily. Retrieved April 30, 2008, from

(18) ibid 13

(19) ibid 16"

I am just surprised that the news media and politicians are all acting like this is a "bomb shell" revelation.  If you access the EU document above, you will see that not only is the NSA and ECHELON collecting data but it appears they are selling industrial secrets to the highest bidder.  Maybe that is the next "News Flash."