Julian Assange just unveiled Wikileaks' latest release, and it's embarrassing: A bunch of brochures and manuals they downloaded from public websites, and some stuff that the Wall Street Journal published last month.
Assange had made big promises about the "extraordinary privacy threats" they'd expose with their newest release. Today Assange announced the Spy Files, a database of 287 documents relating to 160 surveillance companies which assist governments around the world.
"Mass interception of entire populations is not only a reality, it is a secret new industry spanning 25 countries," intones the introduction to the Spy Files. "This industry is, in practice, unregulated. Intelligence agencies, military forces and police authorities are able to silently, and on mass, and secretly intercept calls and take over computers without the help or knowledge of the telecommunication providers. "
The Spy Files contains a lot of manuals for surveillance technologies like the Blue Coat SG200 network security appliance, and the Cellebright UFED mobile cell phone forensics device. Which seems impressive until you realize these exact manuals are available for public download on the websites of Blue Coat and Cellebrite themselves.
And the most interesting document, a "contract" between the French surveillance company Amesys and the Libyan government has been kicking around on the web for almost three months. Wikileaks says new documents are forthcoming—maybe they're saving the best for last but judging from past leaks that's probably not the case. As far as we can tell, a large portion of the documents Wikileaks published were already available to anyone on the internet. Wikileaks' newest high-tech leaking tool is Google, apparently.
Of course, the outrageous growth of an unregulated surveillance-industrial complex is a scary issue that deserves plenty of attention… like this huge Wall Street Journal investigation of many of the same documents from last month. And
Wikileaks needs to get their much-delayed new submissions system up so they can stop padding out their leaks like a seventh grader's Pride and Prejudice essay.
[image via AP]