WikiLeaks debuts the Spy Files
WikiLeaks has launched a new initiative known as the Spy Files by posting documents that reveal a "secret industry" spanning 25 countries.
"Across the world, mass surveillance contractors are helping intelligence agencies spy on individuals and 'communities of interest' on an industrial scale," WikiLeaks explained on its website.
"As of today, mass interception systems, built by Western intelligence contractors, including for 'political opponents' are a reality. [We are] releasing a database of hundreds of documents from as many as 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry that has boomed since September 11, 2001 and is worth billions of dollars per year."
According to WikiLeaks, the surveillance industry is essentially unregulated. As such, intelligence agencies, military forces and police authorities are able to clandestinely intercept calls and hijack computers without the help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers.
In addition, the physical location of users can be tracked if they are carrying a mobile phone - even if it is only on stand by.
"In the last ten years systems for indiscriminate, mass surveillance have become the norm. Intelligence companies such as VASTech secretly sell equipment to permanently record the phone calls of entire nations. Others record the location of every mobile phone in a city, down to 50 meters. Systems to infect every Facebook user, or smart-phone owner of an entire population group are on the intelligence market," WikiLeaks claimed.
"Surveillance companies like SS8 in the U.S., Hacking Team in Italy and Vupen in France manufacture viruses (Trojans) that hijack individual computers and phones (including iPhones, Blackberries and Androids), take over the device, record its every use, movement, and even the sights and sounds of the room it is in."
The Spy Files can be accessed here.