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Mass surveillance and control

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WikiLeaks Exposing "Mass Surveillance Industry"


The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks began releasing documents last week related to what it calls the “mass surveillance industry,” a little-known but expansive underworld of contractors offering tools for governments — from brutal dictatorships to more moderate Western states — to monitor citizens and hunt down dissidents. Furious activists reacted to the revelations by calling for stricter controls and measures to hold the firms accountable as “accomplices” to mass murder.

The information released so far covers over 150 companies spanning more than two dozen nations. The documents highlight the nature and growth of a multi-billion-dollar industry that, in addition to supplying espionage assistance to the most murderous regimes on earth, has been quietly turned against citizens in supposedly “free” countries as well.

“Who here has an iPhone? Who here has a Blackberry? Who here uses Gmail? Well you are all screwed,” WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange told a press conference in London announcing the new project. “The reality is intelligence contractors are selling right now, to countries across the world, mass surveillance systems for all of those products."

Some of the newly released information details how governments are able to secretly intercept phone calls and take over victims’ computers. Cell phone owners, it turns out, can be tracked even when the devices are not activated. But it gets worse.

“In the last ten years systems for indiscriminate, mass surveillance have become the norm,” WikiLeaks said in a statement about the revelations posted online. “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.”

Among the more than 1,000 documents involved are pamphlets, brochures, and catalogues marketing the surveillance products to government officials worldwide. Also included in the cache of information are videos, contracts, and more.

read more at The New American

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