When citizens' protests overthrew dictatorships in Egypt and Libya this year, they discovered listening rooms where devices from companies like Gamma corporation of the UK, Amesys of France, VASTech of South Africa and ZTE Corp of China monitored their every move online and on the phone.
According to Spy Files released by WikiLeaks, intelligence agencies, military forces and police authorities "silently... and secretly intercepted calls and had taken over computers without the help of telecommunication providers", and tracked the physical location of mobile phone users, even when their devices were only on standby.
#1...25 countries snooped
Mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning 25 countries, according to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. These countries include India, US, UK, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.
#2...The Indian angle
#3...Big names involved
This industry is, in practice, unregulated and has some 160 companies. Some of the significant names include, BEA, Dialogic, Cambridge Consultants, HP, Siemens, Nice Systems, Nokia Siemens Networks and Thales.
#4...How it worked: Computers hijacked
#5...How it worked: Voice analysis
Blue Coat in the US and Ipoque in Germany sell tools to governments in countries like China and Iran to prevent dissidents from organizing online.
#6...How it worked: Location-based spying
Another Massachusetts company named Netezza, which bought a copy of the software, allegedly reverse engineered the code and sold a hacked version to the Central Intelligence Agency for use in remotely piloted drone aircraft.