06 December 2011

Governments Monitoring Email, China Sucked Out CBI's Mails: Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Saturday said governments the world over were curbing personal liberty and individual privacy by continuous monitoring of phone calls and emails under the guise of tracking Islamist terror.

Governments Monitoring Email, China Sucked Out CBI's Mails: Julian Assange

In a special address, beamed from London through video, Assange said he had come across evidence of China hacking into the emails of the Indian "central government".

"Chinese six years ago were sucking out the emails of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)," he said, painting a grim picture of individual freedom under threat from governments of the world.

He said the governments worldwide were keeping emails and phone calls under surveillance "not necessarily for terrorists but may be for economic intelligence". This bulk of information, he said, "flows through largest US companies".

He named US' Lockheed Martin and Boeing as the companies which access the information and said: "It is handed out to those individuals and companies who are close to building communications equipment".

"Bulk surveillance of entire nations is on," he said disclosing that an unnamed German firm was tempting the governments to buy its military surveillance tools with an unusual open offer.

"Interception of entire nations by western firms works against transparency for public for secretive groups. We should strive for laws for open society," he said, adding that Islamist "terror was being used as a cover for illegal interceptions" misused for economic intelligence by private companies.

He said governments of the world in collaboration with private companies were working with laws that would ensure secrecy and block information to the public.

India, however, was one of the "countries trying to bring a change" and was relatively safe from threats posed by cyber-spying, he said. He cited the Right to Information Act, the landmark legislation that makes it mandatory for the government to share information.

"The Indian government is best in terms of responsiveness. The US, Great Britain and Canada are the least responsive. The US government has learned all the tricks to delay information," he said appearing with upside down logos of Visa and PayPal in protest against global squeeze on WikiLeaks funding.

The whistleblowing website has leaked secret US diplomatic cables from several countries.