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. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Maybe it's even the twenty-first century.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Zamyatin (WE)and Orwell didn't foresee How, but they knew What.
    Nineteen Eighty-Four was submitted to its publisher in 1948. During the 1950s, I had Big Brother discussions with my fellow students and we didn't see how it would be possible to install TV cameras in our houses that we couldn't just escape by going outside.
    Now I think I understand why no pay phones function anymore: the phone booth can't follow me down the street after I use it, but my cell phone always does.
    I also understand why so many terrorists are captured "just in time."
    Hey–what about that World Trade Center?
    Oh–Arabs don't have cell phones.

    December 2, 2011 at 6:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Realist

      Joey, I think you're right. It's not as far fetched as people imagine.

      December 2, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    I waiting for the first dumbbell with a BA and a credit in Psychology 101-103 to tell me that I'm exhibiting symptoms of paranoia.

    December 2, 2011 at 6:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. michaelfury


    December 2, 2011 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  5. bigwilliestyles

    @ JIF: naw, you're not paranoid. Of course that is what will be said, that and 'conspiracy theory, unpatriotic, etc,' while 'they' march through our human, civil and legal rights like Sherman through Georgia. And people wonder why we protest.

    December 2, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Realist


      December 2, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Good morning, bigwilliestyles.
    I see we both got up after the early worm.

    December 2, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. michaelfury


    December 2, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. Arrest THEM! (jot just him)

    The entire Wiki organization has done much harm and should all be arrested and prosecuted just like Aassange. Anyone caught knowingly reading these wikileaks should also be charged with aiding the enemy. Calling for Assange's head on a platter while ignoring those who help him is stupid, George.

    December 2, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Here goes another hateful Tea Partier here, displaying his ignorance on this web page. If I were him, I'd be ashamed of myself!!! Too bad that there's no cure for gross stupidity such as this!

      December 2, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Ooooh, all of this technology, and yet they can't figure out a way to get rid of these trolls.
    If there is a file on me somewhere, it's very thin and the contents are exceedingly boring.

    December 2, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. Portland tonyi

    Stirring the pot sometimes gets people off their a*sses. In tthis matter I agree with Wikileaks for bringing the subject to our attention.

    December 2, 2011 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. Arrest THEM! (jot just him)

    We need spies not just to keep track of our enemies, but to keep track of citizens who sponge off of our American sytem. Not private spies like Assange and his army, but spies like the FBI and CIA who can get the job done rather than just "leaking" about it. Go FBI! Go CIA! Spy on every single crooked person in this country and do your business as trained. Anyone who thinks that the gov. shouldn't be spying is retarded.

    December 2, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Gee whiz, this guy above never ceases to post just how ignorant he is. The C.I.A. is the biggest terrorist organization that was ever created in the annals of mankind!!! Doesn't this bozo know that???

      December 2, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. Over 1,000 born with HIV ea. day

    That's right. Those who sponge off of our American system are the worst kind of enemy, for they chizzle away at the very foundation of our society...and from inside our own walls. These are the next enemies to be dealt with harshly, yet rarely get mentioned!...as if millions of people aren't defrauding our American system. We have enemies among US and need to be rid of them.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. George Patton

    As the real George Patton, let me assure you that I am 100% on the side of America. The mindless liberal who keeps posting under my name isn't fooling anyone. We all know where George Patton stands, and George Patton stands with America and it's values. I challenge the mindless liberal "George Patton" troll to prove to me that America is wrong!

    December 2, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. America IS wrong(er)

    @"the real" George Patton. (as if that's really your name) America didn't always consume 1/3 of the entire earth's natural resoiurces. Get a clue. There IS something WRONG about America. She didn't used to be this fat and disgusting. It's time for her to shape-up inside with the same vigor as she shapes-up those on the outside. (invading/occupying foreign nations) Besides, there's only a few occupation-worthy countries left.Once their taken care of, we'll have all that energy to focus on ourselves. Watch as America grows strong again. Where when an American travelled abroad, foreigners were moved with deep respect and admiration rather than the fear of a fat man come to eat everything. 🙂

    December 2, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Good posting, America IS wrong(er). As the true George Patton here, I didn't post @ 10:33 above, some Tea partying nitwit did just to make me look dumb. We need to get out of all these senseless wars overseas which is only making the fat cats in Washington ever richer and bringing nothing but misery to millions of others!!!

      December 2, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. George Patton

    To the fake George Patton at 11:19, you have been exposed as a worthless liberal leech on society. You are squatting on the good name of a great military leader the way that a stray dog squats on an expensive carpet. Do us all a favor, go post your trash on a Marxist-Leninist blog. True Americans are not interested.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      Bravo. We all know who the fake is, and it is the fake George Patton at 11:19, and other posts of the same tone. He is the fakey troll who steals other people's names, but always says the same thing, over and over. I'm going to guess he applied to study liberal arts or political science at some cheap hippy college, but couldn't get in because of poor grades. Which is a good thing because his mom was willing to pay his tuition for him, even though she couldn't afford it. He has never worked, because he thinks he's too good to flip burgers, stock shelves, or mop floors. So he continues to live at home and spends 14 hours per day on the internet and 10 hours per day sleeping.

      Am I close, "Georgie"?

      December 2, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      Sorry, George. I never posted the above. I admire your intelligence even more since it seems to be aggravating these ignorant Tea Partiers here. I guess that they hate to have anybody prove just how wrong they are!!!

      December 2, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      @ Fakey. What? You're apologizing to yourself now? This is starting to get sad and pathetic.

      December 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
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