WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has claimed that intelligence contractors are selling mass surveillance systems for smartphones and email as WikiLeaks launches new documents about these activities.
Speaking at a press conference, Assange said the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 in New York provided a licence for countries around the globe to “develop spying systems that affect us all.”
“Who here has an iPhone? Who here has a BlackBerry? Who here uses Gmail?” Assange asked at the press conference.
“Well, you’re all screwed. The reality is (that) intelligence contractors are selling, right now, to countries across the world mass surveillance systems for all those products,” he said.
This coincided with WikiLeaks’ new release called ‘The Spy Files‘, which contains hundreds of documents from almost 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry.
The whistle-blowing site worked with Bugged Planet and Privacy International, as well as six media organisations to create this database. It said it will give details of which companies earn “billions” selling tracking tools to “government buyers”, flouting export laws and ignoring “dictatorial regimes that abuse human rights.”
It also said it would cover Western companies which sell mass surveillance equipment to Western intelligence agencies.
“International surveillance companies are based in the more technologically sophisticated countries, and they sell their technology on to every country of the world,” wrote WikiLeaks on the site.
“This industry is, in practice, unregulated. Intelligence agencies, military forces and police authorities are able to silently, and en masse, to secretly intercept calls and take over computers without the help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers.
“Users’ physical location can be tracked if they are carrying a mobile phone, even if it is only on standby,” it said.
Today, WikiLeaks released 287 documents, with plans to roll out more from next week and into 2012.
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