ECHELON is the codename for an international intelligence gathering network. It also exists in real life, under the same name.
Under the control of the National Security Agency (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). It is capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks and microwave links.
It is revealed when Simon Ross, a reporter with the Guardian Newspaper, asks about Operation Blackbriar over his unsecured cell phone. The Blackbriar code word is flagged by ECHELON's systems. They then send the information to Noah Vosen's team in New York City.