U.S. Supplying Dictators with their Surveillance Needs
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Governments of all stripes, including authoritarian regimes, have plenty of opportunities to shop for the last technology to spy on their citizens. Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the surveillance industry has exploded in size, so much so that a trade show in 2002 that was attended by only 35 people now can hold nine “Wiretappers’ Balls” a year. The sophisticated tools and software purchased by snooping governments are mostly developed in the U.S. and Europe. The manufacturers, with profit as their primary goal, generally take the position that any client is worthy as long as he pays.
WikiLeaks released online a series of brochures, catalogues, manuals and price lists collected from more than 100 companies selling surveillance equipment. The German firm Elaman boasts that it can “identify an individual’s location, their associates and members of a group, such as political opponents.” Thirty-six of the companies are located in the United States.
Many of the products have wound up in the hands of dictators controlling Syria, Iran, Libya, Egypt and China, among others.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
The Spy Files (WikiLeaks)
Trade in Surveillance Technology Raises Worries (by Sari Horwitz, Shyamantha Asokan and Julie Tate, Washington Post)
Syrian Dictatorship Uses U.S. Technology to Spy on Internet Users (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Iranian Journalist Sues Nokia and Siemens for Helping Iranian Dictators Spy (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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