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WikiLeaks releases 'spy files'

The Spy Files contain information on almost 300 companies that offer intelligence services. WikiLeaks said this secret industry has boomed since 9/11 and is worth billions per year.

Julian Assange
Julian Assange
Image: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP/Press Association Images

WIKILEAKS HAS RELEASED its latest round of files – the Spy Files.

So far, 287 spy files have been released, with more expected to be published this week and into 2012.

WikiLeaks, which was founded by Julian Assange, said that the files show that “mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning 25 countries”.

The documents come from around 160 “intelligence contractors” that WikiLeaks said work in the mass surveillance industry.

The 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 human rights.

It said that the secret industry has boomed since 11 September 2001 and is worth billions of dollars per year.

WikiLeaks said that the international surveillance companies sell their technology worldwide and that the industry is, “in practice, unregulated”.

It also noted:

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.

It also said that some companies collaborate with the military, and that there are commercial firms that sell software that can turn data into “powerful tools that can be used by military and intelligence agencies”.

For example, in military bases across the US, 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 documents give information on the services that these companies – which are based around the world – offer.

WikiLeaks partner Owni.fr said that the company Amesys equipped Libya’s ‘Big Brother’ surveillance operation, while four other Western companies supply surveillance equipment to Syria.

It also said:

We have known for some time that these surveillance weapons were used in China and Iran in particular. But it was not until the Arab Spring, and the evidence left behind by these mostly Western surveillance merchants in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Syria, that we have been able to get a full sense of what had been going on.

WikiLeaks had temporarily stopped publishing documents after it ran into funding difficulties.

The Spy Files are available online at WikiLeaks.org>

Read: WikiLeaks to suspend publications over severe financial shortage>

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