Spy Files: WikiLeaks releases files on global surveillance industry
Wikileaks, the controversial whistle-blower site founded by Australian Julian Assange, released a trove of documents Thursday.
December 1st, 2011
07:44 PM ET

Spy Files: WikiLeaks releases files on global surveillance industry

WikiLeaks on Thursday released 287 documents of what it called “the Spy Files,” a trove of files exposing the reach of the global surveillance industry.

The documents - brochures, manuals, catalogs and other literature - offer a glimpse into the clandestine world of spying technology used by governments and the companies that supply them.

While some of the information was previously published in a Wall Street Journal piece about the burgeoning retail market for surveillance tools, Thursday's release in conjunction with six other organizations paints a composite of just how difficult it is for the world's citizens to truly protect their privacy.

One video from the release shows a promotion by the Hacking Team, which advertises a remote control "stealth system for attacking, infecting and monitoring computers and smartphones."

The whistle-blower site said Thursday’s release was just the beginning of data from more than 160 intelligence contractors.

Are you being tracked? Carrier IQ, your phone's secret recording device

Meanwhile, The Washington Post, one of the organizations with which WikiLeaks said it was working to uncover the surveillance market, wrote in detail about a spy tech bazaar. It was dubbed the Wiretappers’ Ball and held in a Bethesda, Maryland, hotel in October. It was attended by representatives of 43 countries and several U.S. government agencies, including the FBI, the Secret Service, the IRS and even the Fish and Wildlife Service. They reportedly came as customers.

While “lawful interception” techniques are being debated in America, many of the same techniques and more robust means of surveillance are being fervently traded over public but strictly controlled channels, according to the newspaper.

“People are morally outraged by the traditional arms trade, but they don’t realize that the sale of software and equipment that allows oppressive regimes to monitor the movements, communications and Internet activity of entire populations is just as dangerous,” Eric King of Privacy International, a UK advocacy group in favor of limited state surveillance, told the Washington Post.

In October, WikiLeaks announced that it was temporarily stopping publication to  "aggressively fundraise."

Since publishing a cadre of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables late last year, the site has been crippled by a financial blockade enacted by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union.

The latest WikiLeaks data-dump comes days before the site’s founder, Julian Assange, is scheduled to appear before the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The hearing would be the third stage of the 40-year-old Australian's appeal against extradition to face allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion by two women he met on a visit to Stockholm in August 2010.

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Filed under: Espionage • Julian Assange • WikiLeaks • World
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. George Patton

    Hopefully we may learn something about the infiltration of both the C.I.A. and the most infamous British MI-6 into Iran back in June 2009 trying to drum up a riot over the outcome of that country's election results resulting in the death of a 26 year old student there. Both the C.I.A. and the MI-6 have done a great deal of damage worldwide.

    December 1, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marine5484

      Good posting, George. I couldn't agree more!

      December 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. George Patton

    I did not write the post above. Some troll has stolen my name again. I believe the CIA and MI-6 had nothing to do with Iran and are fine organizations. I also believe that Wikileaks should be shut down, as it is compromising the security of America. We all need to trust our government and stop spreading these wild rumours.

    December 1, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Here goes another Tea Partying troll trying to discredit me by usurping my name and posting his right-wing bla-bla-bla under it! Anyone with half a brain knows just how corrupt our government is. Just look at the revelation on Capitol Hill today about the members of Congress legally using insider trading on Wall Street for monetary gain!!! Now I guess that they're "going to do something about it" after all these years!

      December 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • michaelfury


      December 2, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Omar Bradley

    George, you're fired, again.

    December 1, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. emily


    December 1, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lemming

    Which George, you troll? I hope the true Marine tracks your nasty ass!

    December 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. George Patton

    The right-wing thugs in Washington framed Julian Assange!!! They'll stop at nothing to discredit me!!! I, as the true George Patton, find this personally revolting!!!

    December 1, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. George Patton

    I found out about the insider trading weeks ago!!! The fake George Patton using mu name is an idiot uneducated lemming!!!

    December 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. hope

    You need to leave George Patton alone. It was funny at first, but its not funny anymore. When it turns into harrassment, you've crossed the line.

    December 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Thank you, hope. I seem to be getting to some of these right-wing, hateful Tea Partying idiots here!

      December 2, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. bigwilliestyles

    The Wikileaks guys (including the two being harassed by 'security forces') are heroes being persecuted in real time. Oh, and the people are fools to accept this and all other atrocities.

    December 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. @hope

    Seriously? He has been stealing our names and harrasing us ever since way back when! Leave him alone? He even stole the name george Patton from another poster! Nobody is harrasing him! HE'S not funny! Wait til he steals YOU name, and see if you don't get p-ssed!

    December 1, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. @hope

    Oh, and then he agrees with himself by stealing another name! Marine5484 was a namne he stole! You haven't been here very long, have you? You'll learn. You'll learn.

    December 1, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Limbs

    Why prosecute just him? You should the us political hiearchy of the united states or our soon to be socialist country? Because they have enough at the party, what does a 500 dollar an ounce caviar taste like? Guess we will never know!!!!

    December 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. George Patton

    As the real George Patton here, I protest the left wing moron who keeps posting his garbage under my name. Assange should be prosecuted. He is aiding communists and terrorists. God bless America!

    December 2, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Sorry folks, some damn Tea Partier usurped my name again and posted the above just to make me look stupid. I like the way I seem be irritating some of these nitwits here!!!

      December 2, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. hope

    Lost a Comment!

    December 2, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |


    December 2, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
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