I wanted to post this yesterday and maybe be the first to point out what I wanted to point out, but something came up. C’est la vie. Maybe I’m still the first to point it out.
Hacking Team is a surveillance technology company that sells its services to governments around the world, especially of the authoritarian variety, to aid in surveying their entire population. This includes the United States government, as the FBI has spent several hundreds of thousands of dollars on their products in recent years. Here is a commercial of theirs whose intended audience is dictatorial and absolute monarchical regimes (and regimes that wish they were):
The other day, hacktivists attacked Hacking Team, gathered all of their data, commandeered their CEO’s twitter account, and released over four hundred gigabytes of their e-mail, files, and source code. Yesterday, July 9, 2015, WikiLeaks published over one million e-mails from Hacking Team in a searchable way. I searched through them yesterday with a few different search terms. As peaceful protests in authoritarian regimes in recent years come to mind when I think of companies like Hacking Team, one of the terms I used was ‘Ben Ali,’ for which I found an e-mail dated January 28, 2011 (after dictator Ben Ali of Tunisia had already been ousted) from CEO David Vincenzetti to the sales team. The bulk of the e-mail is a news article he’s sharing about the Arab Spring spreading to Yemen. But at the top of the e-mail is a very damning sentence written by Vincenzetti:
Political unrest in Arab countries could jeopardize HT’s business expansion in the Middle East!!!
And the subject line of that e-mail? I kid you not:
Danger (was: Yemenis call for an end to Saleh regime)
That is about the most damning thing I can imagine in this context short of an e-mail saying, “We help governments monitor dissidents.” Please spread this widely. Please search through these e-mails and the other files, data, and source code that have been leaked, and share as much damning stuff you can find. Widely forward news articles or any work done by scholars and others on this leaked material. Together, we will make Hacking Team no more, just like we did to HBGary Federal!
Also, below is another fun goodie for you. Two crypto activists, Claudio Guarnieri and Morgan Marquis-Boire, giving a lecture titled “The Militarization of the Internet” on December 29, 2013 at the Chaos Computer Conference, expose Hacking Team and a number of similar companies. Enjoy and solidarity!