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<nettime> WikiLeaks: The Spy Files
nettime's avid reader on Thu, 1 Dec 2011 21:52:43 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> WikiLeaks: The Spy Files



On Thursday, December 1st, 2011 WikiLeaks began publishing The Spy Files, thousands of pages and other materials exposing the global mass surveillance industry

http://wikileaks.org/The-Spyfiles.html

Mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a
secret new industry spanning 25 countries

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. Today WikiLeaks 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
form six countries – ARD in Germany, The Bureau of Investigative
Journalism in the UK, The Hindu in India, L’Espresso in Italy, OWNI in
France and the Washington Post in the U.S. Wikileaks is shining a light
on this secret industry that has boomed since 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 year.

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. Users’ physical 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. 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 meters. Systems to infect every Facebook user, or
smart-phone owner of an entire population group are on the intelligence
market.

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