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. Mary, Mary (Quite Contrary)

    I do not believe. For a minute that there is going to be a free-for-all FBI/CIA sweep of decent human beings in this country. That just sounds like the same thing that is wrong with Andre Brievak in Norway. Delusions of grandeur by a paranoid-schizophrenic. Take the depot shots. You'll be in a better place, one that clears your thinking before you write a manifesto and shoot up a bunch of children.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Facade

      Lol. Right. That's what people used to say about the NKVD. By giving the powerful more power, and they have already demonstrated that they are malevolent, you risk putting yourself in harms way. But hey, this is Uh-mericah, it can't happen here.

      December 6, 2011 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Queenie Eugenie (in a bottle)

    Please ignore the *over l000 born with HIV every day*, thats just my brother philip, he was slammed on his head at birth and now cant get a grip on his s^xu@lity!!

    December 2, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mary, Mary (Quite Contray)

    @Arrest THEM:
    Anyone who use the word "retarded" in a post makes their post seem even sillier than the words they contained, and therefore renders it null and void.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. Queenie Eugenie (in a bottle)

    That and the fact that he suffers from *retraction of the reproductive organ into the abdoman, due to tainted bayer aspirin, from the nazis*

    December 2, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mary, Mary (Quite Contray)

    @Joey Isotta-Patton @ 10:12 and 10:16,
    and Fake George Patton, 10:24, 10:27, and 11:19:
    Your posts are boring.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mary, Mary (Quite Contray)

    @Queen Eugenie:
    Ha ha ha! He must have take a lot of aspirin! Is it the HIV tainted kind?

    December 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. George Patton

    If he's got HIV, I don't think it came from aspirin. I think he got it the old fashioned way. After all, he's got a lot of experience in that sort of thing.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      Here goes another Tea Partying idiot trying to make me look stupid. By trolling me like this, it seems that I'm starting to annoy some of these right-wing fools here and that's good!

      December 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary, Mary (Quite Contrary)

    Good posting, George Patton@12:14.
    You've said it all.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Queenie Eugenie (in a bottle)

    Well duh! How else you think he contacted it? Wait til the retraction hits the *main brain* you think youre watchin dumb and dumber now? You aint seen nothin....He gets way stupider!

    December 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mary, Mary (Quite Contrary)

    The biggest enemies among US that needs to be gotten rid of is the misogynist who tries to do harm to others via family.

    December 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Queenie Eugenie (in a bottle)

    Lol @ george, we know, but like i said reality aint a part of his program, philip lives in a fantasy world and blames the nazis, and mom, and priests. Cant or wont admit hes gay as a three dollar bill!

    December 2, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Betterthanwilkileaks

    Two Fort Leavenworth soldiers accused of robbing KU students at gunpoint
    By Los Angeles Petty Theft Attorney On June 26, 2011 · Leave a Comment
    Two Fort Leavenworth soldiers accused of robbing KU students at gunpoint
    Douglas County prosecutors have filed several charges, including counts of aggravated robbery, against two Fort Leavenworth soldiers accused of robbing two Kansas University students at gunpoint on campus early Thursday morning.
    Read more on Lawrence Journal-World

    December 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. saywhat

    @ Mary,Mary

    Don't for a minute take the risk of being nive. FBI/CIA are quite capable of doing it & have been doing it , thanks to the Patriot Act.

    @ betterthanwikileaks
    Now we can't have our soldiers running around & robbing students, can we? Must be some kind of post-traumatic syndrome after their overseas tour of duty.

    December 2, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      Good post, saywhat. Thank you.

      December 2, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO

      Fakey again at 4:32. We'll stop if you do, "Georgie".

      December 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. seebofubar

    Assange would look good with a 22mm red spot in the middle of his forehead.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Patton

      I couldn't agree more!!

      December 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mac

    For decades US intelligence agencies have carried out covert operations in many countries around the world, toppling governments at will, blackmailing foreign politicians, destroying the lives of millions of innocent civilians by encouraging and installing dictators, selling weapons of mass destruction to puppet governments to oppress the public in those countries. ITS SHAMEFUL. Exposing these wrongs will be small relief for victims in those countries who lost loved ones to the malicious US machinations which led to the loss of life of millions of innocent people.

    December 3, 2011 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
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