Interception of your smartphone usage by private companies was just being debated on. Just then, Wikileaks releases 250+ documents under the Spy Files project, full of classified information about interception of electronic devices and platforms by the governments of various countries.
These documents are coming from 160 “Intelligence Contractors”, many of them located in the western developed nations. These organizations are responsible for creation of interception devices, softwares and other technologies. These include Internet Monitoring, SMS Monitoring, Phone Monitoring, Trojan, Speech Analysis and GPS Tracking.
Organisations like Nokia, RIM and Cisco are also involved.The companies are located in Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine and United States.
What these technologies can do –
- Record Every keystroke on your computer and smartphone.
- Track your location to a 50 Metres radius even if you phone is on standby (GPS).
- Intercept Text Messages and Phone Calls all the time Without the Knowledge of Telecommunications Provider.
- They can track every move you make and are even capable of sending sounds in your vicinity directly to the control centres without the awareness of the user.
- BBM (Blackberry Messenger) and other Instant Messenger’s can tracked seamlessly.
- Remote Controlled Flying devices to collect surveillance data.
- ‘Voiceprints’ to match phone calls and identify an individual.
The Nasty Part
The most feared outcome of such technology being available to Governments is suppression of movements against the wrong or perhaps, the powerful wrong people. It is a serious privacy concern, (Well, does privacy even exist any more?) and breaches moral ethics.
With Great Power comes Great Responsibility – Uncle Ben
Problem 1. Dictators have invested in these technologies to keep a check on any uprising. Many devices manufactured by VASTech, South Africa and ZTE Corp of China have been found in Egypt and Libya where they had “Listening Rooms” set up to monitor any digital maneuver. This breaches Human Rights and vests infinite amount of power of in the ruler who can over run any movement. Communist nations like China are using these technologies ruthlessly to ‘control’ the nation.
Problem 2. With Eastern Nations like India where governments are still in midst of corrupt practices, Tracking Technologies are used by dishonest officials to supplement their political rivalries. These technologies can further reach to business organizations who track their employees (Happening in China).
Problem 3. Military and Security Organizations which can suppress any issue in their countries are enabled to locate any individual on the map in moments. If you realize, they can do anything at any moment without anyone getting to know. This weapon could cost many countries their foundations of democracy.
Problem 4. Private Organisations create softwares to analyze all the data collected. For military organizations, this is a gold mine. They maintain full control over the population. The Digital Age is not bounded by the borders of the country. One country can collect data from dozens of other countries. This indeed is The Digi-Cold War.
Problem 5. Irresponsible usage by mismanaged governments could be exploited by Mafia’s and Powerful Magnates to create fear and do just what they want.
This industry is making billions for those who create such technologies at the cost of what?