WikiLeaks launched a new project today: The Spy Files. The project seeks to map the light-speed privatization of surveillance, electronic eavesdropping, and other such tools throughout the world. Secret software tracking everything you say and text in your cellphone. Analyzing your banking transactions and internet use. That sort of thing. Western companies sell these tools to anyone who will pay for it:
When citizens overthrew the dictatorships in Egypt and Libya this year, they uncovered listening rooms where devices from Gamma corporation of the UK, Amesys of France, VASTech of South Africa and ZTE Corp of China monitored their every move online and on the phone.
Also included is software that steers CIA killer drones and that turned out to be hacked and flawed. There is a great interactive map where you can see what country produces which tools. There's also a website where you can track international coverage by news organizations that participate in the project, such as The Washington Post, ARD and L'Expresso.
Panama doesn't feature on the map, but it should. Because, after all, we have Pele-System Inc., the local supplier of the infamous "pelepolice" tool. Officially prohibited (a good example of how these tools are often used illegally), the police continues to use this glorified parking ticket system from Israel to check people's ID's against a database that often contains faulty or outdated information about outstanding judicial orders, traffic fines etc. It is used as a tool for intimidation and repression and applied through blatant racial and social profiling wherever the police sees fit.
Are there other Panamanian contributions to the wonderful world of espionage and surveillance? Not really. Remember that Panama's spies are payasos.