Mass interception of entire populations
is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning 25
WikiLeaks - The Spy Files
It sounds like something out of Hollywood, but as of today, mass
interception systems, built by Western intelligence contractors, including
for ’political opponents’ are a reality.
began releasing a database of hundreds of documents from as many as 160
intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry.
Working with Bugged Planet and Privacy
International, as well as media organizations from six countries:
Wikileaks is shining a light on this secret industry that has
September 11, 2001 and is worth billions of dollars per year. WikiLeaks has released 287 documents today, but the
Spy Files project is
ongoing and further information will be released this week and into next
International surveillance companies are based in the more technologically
sophisticated countries, and they sell their technology on to every country
of the world. This industry is, in practice, unregulated. Intelligence
agencies, military forces and police authorities are able to silently, and
on mass, and secretly intercept calls and take over computers without the
help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers.
location can be tracked if they are carrying a mobile phone, even if it is
only on stand by.
But the WikiLeaks Spy Files are more than just about ’good Western
countries’ exporting to ’bad developing world countries’. Western companies
are also selling a vast range of mass surveillance equipment to Western
intelligence agencies. In traditional spy stories, intelligence agencies
like MI5 bug the phone of one or two people of interest.
In the last ten
years systems for indiscriminate, mass surveillance have become the norm.
such as VASTech secretly sell equipment to
permanently record the phone calls of entire nations. Others record the
location of every mobile phone in a city, down to 50 meters.
every Facebook user, or smart-phone owner of an entire population
group are on the intelligence market.
When citizens overthrew the dictatorships in Egypt and Libya this year, they
uncovered listening rooms where devices from,
their every move online and on the phone.
Surveillance companies like,
SS8 in the U.S.
Hacking Team in Italy
...manufacture viruses (Trojans) that hijack individual computers and
phones (including iPhones, Blackberries and Androids), take over the device,
record its every use, movement, and even the sights and sounds of the room
it is in.
Other companies like Phoenexia in the Czech Republic collaborate
with the military to create speech analysis tools. They identify individuals
by gender, age and stress levels and track them based on ‘voiceprints’. Blue
Coat in the U.S. and Ipoque in Germany sell tools to governments in
countries like China and Iran to prevent dissidents from organizing online.
Trovicor, previously a subsidiary of Nokia Siemens Networks, supplied the
Bahraini government with interception technologies that tracked human rights
activist Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar.
He was shown details of personal mobile
phone conversations from before he was interrogated and beaten in the winter
How Mass Surveillance
Contractors Share Your Data with the State
In January 2011, the National Security Agency (NSA) broke ground on a $1.5 billion
facility in the Utah desert that is designed to store terabytes of domestic
and foreign intelligence data forever and process it for years to come.
Telecommunication companies are forthcoming when it comes to disclosing
client information to the authorities - no matter the country. Headlines
during August’s unrest in the UK exposed how Research in Motion (RIM),
makers of the Blackberry, offered to help the government identify their
RIM has been in similar negotiations to share BlackBerry Messenger
data with the governments of India, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the United
Weaponizing Data Kills
There are commercial firms that now sell special software that analyze this
data and turn it into powerful tools that can be used by military and
For example, in military bases across the U.S., Air Force pilots use a video
link and joystick to fly Predator drones to conduct surveillance over the
Middle East and Central Asia. This data is available to Central Intelligence
Agency officials who use it to fire Hellfire missiles on targets.
The CIA officials have bought software that allows them to match phone
signals and voice prints instantly and pinpoint the specific identity and
location of individuals. Intelligence Integration Systems, Inc., based in
Massachusetts - sells a “location-based analytics” software called
Geospatial Toolkit for this purpose.
Another Massachusetts company named
Netezza, which bought a copy of the software, allegedly reverse engineered
the code and sold a hacked version to the Central Intelligence Agency for
use in remotely piloted drone aircraft.
IISI, which says that the software could be wrong by a distance of up to 40
feet, sued Netezza to prevent the use of this software.
Company founder Rich
Zimmerman stated in court that his,
“reaction was one of stun, amazement that
they (CIA) want to kill people with my software that doesn’t work."
Across the world, mass surveillance contractors are helping intelligence
agencies spy on individuals and ‘communities of interest’ on an industrial
Wikileaks Spy Files reveal the details of which companies are making
billions selling sophisticated tracking tools to government buyers, flouting
export rules, and turning a blind eye to dictatorial regimes that abuse