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WikiLeaks Launches Anti-Surveillance Campaign

Commercial firms are watching every move, says WikiLeaks’ Spy Files campaign

On by Peter Judge 0

WikiLeaks has launched a new campaign, together with Privacy International and Bugged Planet, to reveal the extent of survelliance of civilian populations.

Mass surveillance is now a multi-billion dollar industry, in which Western intelligence contractors carry out mass surveillance on behalf of governments round the world, according to the WikiLeaks’ Spy Files campaign, which has begun publishing documents on the web which, it says, incriminate commerical organisations.

You’re all screwed

WikLeaks press conference. Picture by @cityjournalism

“Who here has an iPhone? Who here has a Blackberry?” asked WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange at a press conference in London (pictured) . “Who uses Gmail? Well, you’re all screwed.”  All these services are selling details to mass surveillance companies across world, he said.

Assange also said that “”Right now, no banking transaction on the internet can be considered secure”.

Police and intelligence servcies can “take over computers without the help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers,” said a WikiLeaks statement. “Users’ physical location can be tracked if they are carrying a mobile phone, even if it is only on stand by.”

“In the last ten years, systems for indiscriminate, mass surveillance have become the norm,” said the announcement. “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 smart-phone owner of an entire population group are on the intelligence market.”

Stories of this sort of activity have indeed been appearling lately. China is reported to be monitoring the movements of all Beijing’s mobile users, ostensibly for traffic improvements. US phone operators are using Carrier IQ’s software to “improve the user experience”, although it has been shown to do far more. RIM has estalbished a surveillance lab in India

So far the Spy Files on WikiLeaks’ site include 287 documents, most of which appear to be brochures and data from around 100 commercial companies, which WikiLeaks accuses of mass surveillance. As well as lesser-known specialists such as VASTech, Glimmerglass and the UK’s Gamma, these include business technology providers such as Bluecoat, Cambridge Consultants, and ZTE of China.

 

Peter Judge
Author: Peter Judge
Editor, TechWeekEurope
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