Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Surveillance Industry Index

From an 8-1-16 Motherboard article entitled "Privacy Activists Launch Database to Track Global Sales of Surveillance Tech":

"The surveillance industry is notoriously secretive and opaque. But on Tuesday, activists at Privacy International released a searchable database on over 500 surveillance companies, including many of their brochures and export data.

"'We're trying to compile a resource which will track all the open source accounts of what technology is being used where, and who it's provided by,' Edin Omanovic, research officer at Privacy International, told Motherboard in a phone call. 

"The database is called the Surveillance Industry Index (SII), and can be queried by company name and city, type of product, different surveillance trade shows, and more. The idea, Omanovic said, is to give journalists, activists, researchers, and policymakers 'a better understanding of what kind of products are out there, and what the actual industry looks like.'

"This is particularly important in regard to the sale of surveillance equipment to authoritarian regimes, or countries with a poor human rights record.

"Privacy International regularly sneaks into surveillance or military trade shows and obtains product brochures. The group has also collated and examined government-published export data, as well as media and NGO reports.

"The top five countries represented in the SII are the US with 122 companies, the UK with 104, France and Germany with just over 40 each, and Israel with 27. In all, the SII covers 528 companies, and includes over 1500 brochures.

"'Companies in the SII are overwhelmingly based in large arms exporting countries,' the report notes. The report also indicates a boom in the industry at the turn of the 21st century, when dozens of new companies were created."

To read the entire article, click HERE.

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