World Is Always Being Watched

Whistle-blowing site Wikileaks has recently released papers which reveal the shady world of the international surveillance industry through a new project named Spy Files. A lot of the companies involved appear to operate in plain sight.

Wikileaks has highlighted a huge, billion dollar industry that has largely slipped under the radar, and this is expected to change everything. The firms specializing in surveillance equipment (mostly to repressive regimes) seem to have flourished because mass interceptions of whole populations have gone largely unchecked. However, the leak warns that it isn’t just the usual culprits you would expect – instead, the culture of Orwellian citizen espionage can be seen everywhere. According to the source, this industry already spans twenty-five countries, with developed countries in the west supplying monitoring instruments to others across the globe.

Meanwhile, Wikileaks is trying to bring attention to the alarming fact that this industry is mostly condoned by western countries. The whistle-blowing website is trying to emphasize the scale of the industry and endemic problems involved, like an alarming lack of regulation among purchasers. At the same time, the United States is calling to tighten up legislation that currently allows loopholes for companies to keep operating within.

Julian Assange’s website has released around 300 documents detailing companies involved in flogging surveillance equipment to countries like Libya, including Amesys, a French firm at the centre of a scandal because of exporting surveillance equipment to Gadaffi’s intelligence services. Aside from this company, corporations like Alcatel-Lucent and Siemens also made an appearance in the list. In addition, Nokia Siemens Networks has also faced the woeful record featured after its subsidiary was found to supply tracking equipment to repressive regimes as well.

Spy Files project promises more releases within this week and later, up into the next year. Meanwhile, the service points out that the industry is largely condoned. In the UK, Foreign Secretary William Hague has himself been linked to a company involved in this industry, which is actually unregulated. What is alarming here is that intelligence agencies, along with military forces and police authorities, can silently and secretly intercept phone calls and take over PCs without even the help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers. This is something to worry about, isn’t it?