WikiLeaks has posted publicly over 1 million emails pertaining to employees of controversial spyware and surveillance Italian company Hacking Team, which is known for offering such technology to governments and law enforcement agencies.
The Hacking Team email data hosts more than 400 GB of leaked employee communication and, more importantly, contacts between the company and the governments it provided its services to. The leak discloses several requests of governments from all around the world at spyware tools and software designed to crack into private computers.
As far as the United States is concerned, some of the leaked emails show an ongoing negotiation between Florida-based Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation and Hacking Team for surveillance-related activities. The emails show that the two side tried to find ways to bypass Florida legislation which makes Hacking Team software illegal to use, due to the fact that the amount of private surveillance is restricted only to relevant communication, while Hacking Team software operates on full surveillance of the target.
According to the leaked files, Mexican government agencies were one of the Milan-based company’s top clients, spending figures between $350,000 and $1 million each to purchase software from hacking team. Amongst the agencies noted in the leaks are Mexico’s Center for Investigation and National Security, Attorney General’s office and multiple state governments (Taumalipas, Durango and Yucatan). The Mexican Police and Navy also have accounts listed with the company, though they are noted as being expired.
The Indian government is also mentioned as one of the company’s clients, with the Cabinet Secretariat, National Investigation Army, Intelligence Bureau and National Technical Research Organisation who have all placed orders through one Anupam Tripathi, official of industrial company Semco India.
Australian government agencies have apparently also been in contact with Hacking Team through a proxy Singapore company named Criterion Solutions. The Aussie agencies, including the Australian Federal Police, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission of Victoria and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization appeared to be in the process finalizing negotiations with Hacking Team through Criterion Solutions. Criterion representatives have denied any association with Hacking Team in the Australian media after the information was the disclosed.
UK agencies also seemed to be interested in Hacking Team software, with the National Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police Service having negotiated with the Milan-based company a license purchase worth almost $600,000, but the deal ultimately never went through.
Image Source: CitizenLab