During televised remarks on Wednesday, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa stated his intention to have a resolution on the matter of Julian Assange’s asylum request to that country as early as this weekDespite the latest play by Wikileak’s founder to evade potential U.S. extradition, his organisation is now back in the spotlight for other reasons — namely, the recent leaks regarding “TrapWire,” an alleged attempt to cobble together a massive surveillance apparatus.
Here is the gist of what TrapWire’s marketing team claims of its product:
Existing surveillance systems — cameras, digital storage, etc. — collect information on individuals, which is in turn shared to the “network” and exploits terrorists’ need for site surveillance. In other words, TrapWire is intended to catch suspicious behaviour before an attack can be carried out on a sensitive facility.
But can TrapWire deliver? That is the question that seems to be currently eating away at the severity of Wikileaks latest document dump. As many point out, the claims over TrapWire’s capabilities are relayed via StratFor, which longtime Wikileaks observers will remember as the U.S. intelligence firm that was brought to its knees by emails and client information leaks in 2011.
As the media parsed through the firm’s internal documents, many began to mock StratFor’s alleged intelligence-collecting prowess — The Atlantic’s Max Fisher, for one, stated that “the group has spent over a decade trying to convince the world that it is a for-hire, cutting-edge intel firm with tentacles everywhere” when it was anything but a quasi-CIA intelligence network.
As a result, StratFor’s reputation does not bode confidence in TrapWire’s abilities:
@lmoliva_ Certainly, Stratfor is completely reliable as a source about domestic surveillance.
— Marc Ambinder (@marcambinder) August 14, 2012
To complicate matters, Wikileaks itself has been under a sophisticated DDoS cyber attack since early August by a group which calls itself AntiLeaks, which has subjected its servers to over 10 gigabits per second. Those attacks brought down access to Wikileaks, and was moreover suspected to be retaliation against the group’s latest info dump (via SecurityNewsDaily):
“What does it mean when WikiLeaks publishes a trove of documents hacked by Anonymous from the strategic intelligence firm Stratfor — a trove that apparently details a massive electronic spying system run by the U.S. government — and is then hit by a massive and sustained distributed denial of service attack that prevents journalists and people at large from examining the documents in question?” wondered blogger J.D Tuccille on the libertarian Reason.com website. “I can’t be the only person that finds that just a tad … suggestive.”
As is pointed out in the latter article, however, the DDoS attacks preceded the TrapWire leaks. So was this a coincidence, or were TrapWire’s handlers tipped off beforehand? Regardless of the answer, and of the dubious surveillance state threats ascribed to TrapWire, a large collective effort is currently underway by supporters of Wikileaks and the Anonymous hacker group to collate data and determine the leadership structure of the security contractors in question, as well as the true “threat” posed by the entire product to domestic surveillance.
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