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Boing Boing: What horrible things did we learn about Hacking Team today?

Posted by Soledad Vega on Fri, 07/10/2015 - 11:20

An open Internet is free from government surveillance. Using the Internet to spy on people degrades our freedom and weakens our democracy.

Article by Cory Doctorow for Boing Boing

The enormous dump of docs from cyber-arms-dealer Hacking Team continues to yield up details, like the time the company tried to sell spying tools to a death squad.

The death squad in question is Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion, who asked for a demo of Hacking Team's surveillance tools. Hacking Team bid on the project through a local reseller, who assured them he was "pushing RAB to select our offer through our personal relationship."

They also demoed their tools for the secret police of Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Some of their most unsavory deals were laundered through Nice Systems, an Israeli company that sold Hacking Team products in Azerbaijan -- a notorious human-rights abuser -- and pitched them in "Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Kuwait, Finland, Georgia, Greece, India, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kirghistan."

An internal presentation describes Hacking Team's best nation-state customers, starting with Mexico, and including Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Vietnam, Russia, Honduras, Ethiopia and Egypt. However, UK spy agencies and police forces never bought Hacking Team's products, despite strong interest, because London's police force was worried that Hacking Team was too dodgy for them. But UK cops kept flirting with Hacking Team, getting demos of keylogging spyware, and covertly monitoring wifi access points.

Finally, Hacking Team presented a state-of-the-world talk to the surveillance industry in South Africa where they attacked human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Privacy International, and demonizing "democracy advocates" more generally.

- Read more at Boing Boing