Intelligence

25 Sep 2017

Mexico is one of the biggest buyers of next-generation surveillance technology. And now data leaked to Forbes indicates it's taken an unprecedented step in becoming the first-known buyer of surveillance technology that silently spies on calls, text messages and locations of any mobile phone user, via a long-vulnerable portion of global telecoms networks known as Signalling System No. 7 (SS7).

The revelation was contained in what an anonymous source close claimed was internal sales information from Israeli provider Ability Inc., which appeared to have sold its Unlimited Interception System (ULIN) to Mexico. With prices ranging between $5 and $20 million, ULIN enables silent, almost-undetectable snooping on cellphones, and all that's required is a telephone number, according to a leaked manual detailed by Forbes in 2016.

It comes at a time when Mexico is wrapped up in a spyware scandal. Researchers found this year that activists, journalists, murder victims' attorneys, and investigators into a mass student disappearance have been targeted by the Pegasus spyware, a creation of $1 billion-valued Israeli firm NSO Group
29 Mar 2020

Saudi Arabia appears to be exploiting weaknesses in the global mobile telecoms network to track its citizens as they travel around the US, according to a whistleblower who has shown the Guardian millions of alleged secret tracking requests.

Data revealed by the whistleblower, who is seeking to expose vulnerabilities in a global messaging system called SS7, appears to suggest a systematic spying campaign by the kingdom, according to experts.

The data suggests that millions of secret tracking requests emanated from Saudi Arabia over a four-month period beginning in November 2019.

The tracking requests, which sought to establish the US location of Saudi–registered phones, appeared to originate from Saudi’s three biggest mobile phone companies.

The whistleblower said they were unable to find any legitimate reason for the high volume of the requests for location information. “There is no other explanation, no other technical reason to do this. Saudi Arabia is weaponising mobile technologies,” the whistleblower claimed. The data leaked by
News & Analysis

Privacy International (PI) and Liberty have filed on Friday, 31 January 2020, a complaint with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), the judicial body that oversees the intelligence agencies, against MI5 in relation to how they handle vast troves of personal data.

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