Dave Del Torto on Thu, 7 Dec 95 19:25 MET

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

(HOL) Big Brother, Inc.


Contact: Simon Davies, Privacy International


New report uncovers a massive international surveillance trade funded by
the arms industry and led by the UK

On Monday 4 December, Privacy International will publish Big Brother
Incorporated, a 150 page report which investigates the global trade in
repressive surveillance technologies. The report, to be published on
several Web sites on the Internet, shows how technology companies in Europe
and North America provide the surveillance infrastructure for the secret
police and military authorities in such countries as China, Indonesia,
Nigeria, Angola, Rwanda and Guatemala

The reports primary concern is the flow of sophisticated computer-based
technology from developed countries to developing countries - and
particularly to non-democratic regimes. The report demonstrates how these
companies have strengthened the lethal authority of the world's most
dangerous regimes.

The report lists the companies, their directors, products and exports. In
each case, source material is meticulously cited. Privacy International is
publishing the report in digital form in several sites on the Internet to
ensure its accessability by interested parties anywhere in the world.

Surveillance technologies are defined as technologies which can monitor,
track and assess the movements, activities and communications of
individuals. More than 80 British companies are involved, making the UK the
world leader in this field. Other countries, in order of significance, are
the United States, France, Israel, the Netherlands and Germany.

_Big Brother Incorporated_ is the first investigation ever conducted into
this trade. Privacy International intends to update the report from time to
time using trade fair documents and leaked information from whistleblowers.

The surveillance trade is almost indistinguishable from the arms trade.
More than seventy per cent of companies manufacturing and exporting
surveillance technology also export arms, chemical weapons, or military
hardware. Surveillance is a crucial element for the maintenance of any
non-democratic infrastructure, and is an important activity in the pursuit
of intelligence and political control. Many countries in transition to
democracy also rely heavily on surveillance to satisfy the demands of
police and military. The technology described in the report makes possible
mass surveillance of populations. In the past, regimes relied on targeted

Much of this technology is used to track the activities of dissidents,
human rights activists, journalists, student leaders, minorities, trade
union leaders, and political opponents. It is also useful for monitoring
larger sectors of the population. With this technology, the financial
transactions, communications activity and geographic movements of millions
of people can be captured, analysed and transmitted cheaply and efficiently.

Western surveillance technology is providing invaluable support to military
and totalitarian authorities throughout the world. One British computer
firm provided the technological infrastructure to establish the South
African automated Passbook system, upon which much of the functioning of
the Apartheid regime British surveillance cameras were used in Tianamen
Square against the pro-democracy demonstrators. In the 1980s, an Israeli
company developed and exported the technology for the computerised death
list used by the Guatemalan police. Two British companies routinely provide
the Chinese authorities with bugging equipment and telephone tapping

        Privacy International was formed in 1990 as a non-government,
non-profit organisation. It brings together privacy experts, human rights
advocates and technology experts in more than 40 countries, and works
toward the goal of promoting privacy issues worldwide. The organisation
acts as an impartial watchdog on surveillance activities by governments and

For further information or interview, contact Simon
Davies in London at davies@privint.demon.co.uk.  The address of the web
site is  http://www.privacy.org/pi/reports/big_bro/

#  This message to Hungary-Online@hungary.yak.net
#     was from Dave Del Torto <ddt@lsd.com>
#  To unsubscribe,
#     send "unsubscribe" to <Hungary-Online-request@hungary.yak.net>
#  An announcement-only subscription (less volume) is available
#     at <Hungary-Online-announce-request@hungary.yak.net>
#  Send mail to <majordomo@hungary.yak.net> for more information,
#     or to <human@hungary.yak.net> if you need human assistance.