"WikiLeaks has named 160 companies, including large corporations such as Alcatel-Lucent, Northrop Grumman and Siemens, that it claims are selling mass surveillance technologies, some of which are being used by repressive regimes in the Middle East."
Yet again, it is truly unfortunate that WikiLeaks totally leaves out the reality of how criminals and terrorists can and do use computer communication technology to threaten or harm innocent victims -- exactly the sorts of things that the surveillance industry is working to mitigate.
The Spy Files link: http://wikileaks.org/the-spyfiles.html
The link about Hacking Team: http://wikileaks.org/spyfiles/list/company-name/hackingteam.html
From today's FT, FYI,
December 2, 2011 2:44 am
Wikileaks names 160 mass spyware vendors
By Maija Palmer, Technology Correspondent
WikiLeaks has named 160 companies, including large corporations such as Alcatel-Lucent, Northrop Grumman and Siemens, that it claims are selling mass surveillance technologies, some of which are being used by repressive regimes in the Middle East.
The publication is part of a new campaign launched by the whistle-blowing organisation, together with Privacy International, the pressure group, and media organisations from six countries, to expose the extent of spyware being used against civilian populations.
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, said mass surveillance had now become a multibillion-dollar business for western intelligence contractors, working on behalf of governments around the world. At least some of these, he claimed, were knowingly selling equipment to regimes, which were using them to persecute political opponents.
“Who here has an iPhone? Who here has a BlackBerry? Who uses Gmail? Well, you’re all screwed,” Mr Assange told a press conference in London. “Intelligence contractors have surveillance systems for all those right now,” he said.
“In the last 10 years, systems for indiscriminate, mass surveillance have become the norm,” WikiLeaks claimed on The Spy Files, a subsidiary website launched on Thursday. “Intelligence companies 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 metres. Systems to infect every Facebook user, or smartphone owner of an entire population group are on the intelligence market.”
Mr Assange said these security concerns were partly the reason the company delayed launching a new, long-expected online submissions system allowing whistle-blowers to pass secrets to the website.
The publication of this information by WikiLeaks follows recent allegations that equipment made by Trovicor, a former subsidiary of Nokia Siemens Networks, was used to monitor the communications of Bahraini citizens. Nokia Siemens Networks said it sold the Trovicor business in 2009 after “issues were raised about potential misuse of the technology, which were of concern to the company”.
Three US Senators have asked the Obama Administration to investigate how the Syrian government obtained equipment from California-based NetApp and Blue Coat Systems. The companies have denied selling directly to Syria.
Wikileaks released 287 documents on Thursday, which appeared to be mainly brochures and marketing documents related to surveillance equipment. However, Owni, the French media outlet working with WikiLeaks, revealed a page of a manual from Amesys, the French surveillance company, which apparently showed the pseudonyms of 40 tracked figures. Owni claimed that these pseudonyms corresponded to political dissidents that Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi had sought to jail or kill.
Sophos, a UK-based IT security company named in the WikiLeaks files, said the whistle-blowing organisation had misunderstood the nature of its technology, which is used to help telecoms companies comply with tracking requests from police forces.
“We actively ensure that our products comply with EU export restrictions and UN sanctions,” said Steve Munford, chief executive of Sophos.
However, Eric King, human rights and technology advisor with Privacy International, said the problem was that surveillance technology was not included in most countries’ export restrictions.
“Governments need to make sure that companies are no longer allowed to sell these products,” he said.
Alcatel-Lucent, Northrop Grumman, Siemens, VASTech and Amesys were unavailable for comment.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2011