Wikileaks has released the first swathe of 'spyfiles' documents from security companies around the world, in an effort to “shine a light" on a "secret industry worth billions".
In partnership with Bugged Planet and Privacy International, as well as media organisations including the Washington Post and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism in the UK, Wikileaks has released 287 documents from security companies in 25 different countries.
Revealing the names of surveillance companies including BAE systems, Thales and Siemens, the files offer an insight into the sophisticated technology which governments or organisations can purchase, spying on individuals or even as Wikileaks alleges, whole populations.
Apparatus that can record the key strokes on a Blackberry or iPhone can hold everything a person types, while other technology claims to be able take a picture of an owner sitting at their macbook.
"Who here has an iPhone?" Assange asked attendees of a press conference in London on Thursday. "Who here has a Blackberry? Who here uses Gmail? Well you are all screwed. The reality is intelligence contractors are selling right now to countries across the world mass surveillance systems for all of those products."
An interactive map shows the security companies operating in each country and the type of ‘security invasion’ they pose: whether internet, GPS tracking or mobile phone recording.
Assange said the US, UK, Australia, South Africa and Canada are all developing the "spying systems", and the information is being sold to "dictators and democracies alike".
In total 160 companies across 25 countries are said to be peddling these invasive devices, either ignoring or bypassing regulation and “turning a blind eye to dictatorial regimes that abuse human rights.”
Through investigating these companies, Wikileaks in partnership with Owni, a Paris-based online magazine, claims to show how French security company Amesyssold equipment to Gaddafi, allowing him to spy on the people now running Libya.
Wikileaks has also released a new whistle-blowing platform to allow individuals to submit documents without fear of being compromised.