Sign up for weekly updates

Corporations that help dictators track activists must be held accountable, says RSF

Major software and surveillance companies are making billions by aiding dictators around the world as they arrest and even kill political opponents, according to a new WikiLeaks report called SpyFiles.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the collusion of corporations in countries like the United States, France, the United Kingdom and Israel with regimes that hack dissidents' emails and phones and track their online activities. An interactive map shows the countries and companies involved.

For example, documents found in former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's headquarters in September revealed French company Amesys was providing the Iranian regime with sophisticated equipment to intercept Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! emails as well as instant messages.

Meanwhile, an Italian company, Area SpA, is currently installing an Internet surveillance system in Syria that will allow the regime to monitor any email exchanges and gather personal data of users.

"These new revelations by WikiLeaks provide confirmation and better documentation of the disgraceful cooperation between Western companies and authoritarian regimes, which are being buffeted by the waves from the Arab Spring and want to control their dissidents at all costs," says RSF.

RSF has been calling for mechanisms to be put in place to refer companies that provide technological support to dictators to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Access Now reports that over 10,000 people signed a petition which lead Western tech companies to stop working on a new Syrian surveillance system. Click here to sign a petition calling on the United States Congress and European Union "to implement strong and enforceable regulation preventing the sale of surveillance technology to repressive regimes."

Related stories on

Latest Tweet:

Several journalists say US border agents questioned them about migrant coverage…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.