12.45 Today wikileaks released 287 new files in which the extent of which surveillance technology is used to monitor citizens in both a democracies and dictatorships alike can be seen.
“Sounds like that’s something out of Hollywood” said Julian Assange, founder of wikileaks at a press conference held today at City University.
Ever wondered how authorities gather such detailed information? Information that allows them to stop any form of uprising taking place against its current system. Monitoring. It is no secret that technology allows authorities to intercept communication but with today’s release of the 287 wikileaks files, the danger it poses is known
Jacob Appelbaum, independent computer security researcher said: “These systems are used just as weapons are used… they are used to hunt people down and kill them.” He also spoke about a free software which can be used to allow geographical anonymity.
These files contain information of companies such as Amesys who sold monitoring equipment to Gaddafi allowing him to spy on Libyan opposition figures.
Many surveillance system companies, like Amesys, were created in the West and sold to Eastern countries. These include dictatorships such as Syria.
The question that needs to be posed is: how can we allow Western countries to condemn dictatorships such as Assad’s whilst Western companies sell surveillance equipment directly to him? It is this equipment which leads to the oppression of the Syrian people who wish to fight for freedom.
Legally the international mass surveillance industry is allowed to this and these companies prioritise profit over lives, therefore have no qualms in selling such systems.
Eric King, human rights and technology adviser at Privacy International said: “they just don’t care, they are only concerned about profit”.
After selling the equipment, companies state the equipments uses are the responsibility of the new owner.
These technologies are much more developed than originally thought. They can manipulate entire phone devices, tracking down location, manipulating text messages that are sent and received, even taking pictures without you realising.
Julian Assange stated to all those who have an iphone or blackberry: “You’re screwed”.
The first step to avoid a totalitarian surveillance state which not only invades privacy but puts lives at risk is to change the law.