ECHELON is the name of a global signal analysis network and the software used primarily by the United States (and possibly its allies) (A Higher Echelon).
It's likely that ECHELON had its roots in the early days of the Cold War, where it would have been used to monitor the military, diplomatic, and intelligence communications of the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries. Ever since the end of the Cold War, its scope has increased to include industrial espionage and counter-terrorism.
ECHELON can intercept telephone calls, faxes, e-mails and other forms of global data traffic. This is done by intercepting of satellites, telephone networks (voice and data) and internet connections.
Irina Derevko tricked the CIA into giving her access to ECHELON and used it to...