Thanks to investigative journalists and a European Commission report the public knows of Echelon; the vast electronic spying system run by US, UK, Canada and Australia. The NSA used Echelon to record the phone calls of Princess Diana.
Echelon is used for industrial espionage, bypassing international and national laws to listen in on people and look out for people like Osama bin Laden and assorted terrorists. Every phone call and email is stored to be searched for suspicious words.
Now some of the US companies involved in it have seized the opportunity of the scandal to reveal technical details and boast their revenues from the government sector. The source article lists technical details both scary and impressive.