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WikiLeaks is at it again. This time round, the controversial non-profit went on record saying that German surveillance company, FinFisher, is responsible for selling “weaponised surveillance malware to some of the most abusive regimes in the world,” including the South Africa.
According to WikiLeaks, some of FinFisher’s clients include Pakistan, Qatar, Vietnam, Italy, Singapore, South Africa, Nigeria and many other.
WikiLeaks describes the German surveillance company as follows:
FinFisher (formerly part of the UK based Gamma Group International until late 2013) is a German company that produces and sells computer intrusion systems, software exploits and remote monitoring systems that are capable of intercepting communications and data from OS X, Windows and Linux computers as well as Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices.
Specifically, the data states that South Africa — which allegedly purchased a total of 24 licenses from FinFisher between 2009 and 2012 — has spent €683 340 (R9 714 344) or €2 021 400 (R28 716 412) if we consider those licenses marked “deleted”.
Nigeria, on the other hand, has allegedly spent a total of €703 740 on licenses from FinFisher.
It should be noted that the German surveillance company has been in the spotlight since 2011. The recent files, referred to as SpyFiles 4, include data that could help “the technical community build tools to protect people from FinFisher including by tracking down its command and control centers.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who continues to spend his days in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, is calling the German government hypocritical in reference to its so-called opposition to the US National Security Agency. “The Merkel government pretends to be concerned about privacy, but its actions speak otherwise. Why does the Merkel government continue to protect FinFisher?”
Assange says that “more transparency is needed to hold companies like FinFisher to account, as well as the governments purchasing such equipment.”
WikiLeaks estimates FinFisher’s revenue from these sales to amount to around €50 000 000. Within the full list of customers, it’s worth noticing that among the largest is Mongolia, which has been recently selected as new Chair of the Freedom Online Coalition.
South Africa and Nigeria are the only two African countries to feature on the list and they also the continent’s current economic powerhouses. Neither government has commented on the leak so far.