The 21st-century surveillance industry is hi-tech, sophisticated and terrifyingly pervasive, it is revealed in more than 200 brochures, presentations and other marketing materials published today by WikiLeaks and Privacy International.
The gear on sale falls into four categories: location tracking of mobile phones and vehicles; hacking into computers and phones to monitor every keystroke; recording and storage of what’s being said on an entire telecommunication networks; and the analysis of vast swathes of data to track individual users.
A popular mobile phone tracking technology is an IMSI catcher, which allows the user to intercept mobile phones. These highly portable devices – which can be as small as a fist – can mask as a cell phone tower and emit a signal that can dupe thousands of mobile phones in a targeted area.
The user of the catcher can then intercept SMS messages, phone calls and phone data, such as unique phone identity codes that would allow them to track phone users’ movements in real-time, without having to request location data from a mobile phone carrier.
Companies that offer this equipment include Ability in Israel, Rohde & Schwarz in Germany and Harris Corp in the US.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which uses these devices to track suspects, says it can do so without a court order. Many police forces around the world have also bought or are considering buying IMSI catchers – including the Metropolitan Police…