On Thursday, Wikileaks revealed the Spy Files, a collection of 287 documents that include price lists, 160 companies’ digital marketing materials, contracts, brochures and catalogs. The documents are sorted by company name and by the many different types of surveillance methods used such as spyware, cell phone forensics and Wifi interceptions. More files will be released this week and will continue into 2012.
Many of us spend hours online, completely oblivious to how easy we are to track based on what we are doing, and how we’re doing it. Mobile phones, Skype, IM’s, it’s endless and surprisingly easy. The release of the Spy Files will hopefully, make those who spend any amount of time online more aware of the information we’re sharing across internet lines.
The data collecting is not only being done by the rogue organizations looking to make money on their findings, even the “good guys” are able to get information about us and our online whereabouts and are selling it abroad.
There are almost too many methods of surveillance going on to count. VasTech, an intelligence company, secretly sells equipment that permanently records the phone calls of entire nations. Privacy is fast becoming a thing of the past and with advanced technology, makes the old fashioned “Big Brother” almost a joke. Now there is almost nowhere to hide from this invasion if you have a computer, a cell phone or even a landline.
The kind of technology used in the Spy Files helps police forces, military agencies and the like “silently” and without detection, intercept calls and take control of computer systems without help from anything else. They can even track the location of mobile phones that are in standby mode.
This is a chilling thought, and to think that anything we say on the phone or type or do is being watched can give even the most pure of action pause. No one wants to be spied on constantly and the fact that this information is being sold makes it seem more than a little betraying.
There are some benefits to these surveillance systems in regards to protecting the country and finding out information that could keep us all safe, but that’s not the only thing these bits of information is being used for and that’s the kicker.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks of the true safety of SSL in light of new surveillance methods that have come about over the last few months. “Online security has become severely and irreversibly compromised over the past months,” reads WikiLeaks’ latest statement on the submissions platform from last week. “Over a year or longer, SSL certificates have been penetrated by various organized crime groups and intelligence agencies. The entire SSL system, which is the mechanism that guarantees security and anonymity online, has been compromised. SSL is beyond repair.”
In essence, SSL certificates don’t mean anything and if you choose to conduct business online, using credit cards and other personally identifying information, it very well could be open to sources you would never want to have that information.
A complete list of all the companies currently listed by Wikileaks The Spy Files is below for your research and perusal. Going to the Wikileaks Spy Files directly will allow you to click on links of the company’s names to find their associated products and services that are spying on the public.
Complete list of spy companies according to Wikileaks:
ABILITY, ADAE – Authority for the Assurance of Communication, Security and Privacy (Greece), ALCATEL-LUCENT, ALTRON, AQSACOM, ATIS, ATIS Systems GmbH, AcmePacket, Agnitio, Amesys, Atis Uher, BEA, BLUECOAT, CCT Cecratech, CELLEBRITE, CLEARTRAIL, COBHAM, CRFS, CRYPTON-M, Cambridge Consultants, DATAKOM, DATONG, DETICA, DREAMLAB, Delta SPA, Dialogic, DigiTask, EBS Electronic, ELAMAN, ELTA, ETIGROUP, ETSI, ETSI TC LI, ETSI TC-LI, EVIDIAN, Endace, Expert System, FOXIT, GRIFFCOMM, GROUP2000, GTEN, GUIDANCE, Glimmerglass, HP, HackingTeam, INNOVA SPA, INVEATECH, IPOQUE, IPS, Kapow Software, LOQUENDO, Mantaro, Medav, NETI, NEWPORT NETWORKS, NICE, NICE Systems, NetOptics, NetOptics Inc., NetQuest, Netronome, Nokia Siemens Networks, Ntrepid, OXYGEN, OnPath, PACKETFORENSICS, PAD, PALADION, PANOPTECH, PLATH, Phonexia, Pine Digital Security, Protei, QOSMOS, RETENTIA, SEARTECH, SHOGI, SIEMENS, SPEI, SS8, STRATIGN, Scan & Target, Septier, Septier Communication Ltd., Simena, Speech Technology Center, TRACESPAN, Thales, Utimaco, Utimaco Safeware AG, VUPEN Security, VasTech, telesoft
The ACLU also has listed a very detailed account of illegal domestic spying in America. They list on their website different types of spying that the American Founders never would have imagined. The ACLU introduces their spy files on their website as, “Today the government is spying on Americans in ways the founders of our country never could have imagined. The FBI, federal intelligence agencies, the military, state and local police, private companies, and even firemen and emergency medical technicians are gathering incredible amounts of personal information about ordinary Americans that can be used to construct vast dossiers that can be widely shared with a simple mouse-click through new institutions like Joint Terrorism Task Forces, fusion centers, and public-private partnerships. The fear of terrorism has led to a new era of overzealous police intelligence activity directed, as in the past, against political activists, racial and religious minorities, and immigrants.” You can visit the ACLU’s Spy Files here.
A video reporting the Wikileaks Spy Files from RT is below: