Hackers for the military dictatorship

19 07 2015

PPT, alerted by a reader, had just begun sifting through Wikileaks release of “one million searchable emails from the Italian surveillance malware vendor Hacking Team (HT) on July 8” when the Bangkok Post published a story on the event with a few comments on the use of the Hacking Team by the military dictatorship.Wikileaks

The article states that:

The military and police struck deals as recently as December to allow them to use hacking software to monitor mobile phones and computers, raising concerns of privacy violations….

The Bangkok Post Sunday learned of the deals by sifting through hundreds of the company’s emails and documents, which name the Royal Thai Army and Royal Thai Police as customers of its remote control systems (RCS), also known as Galileo and Da Vinci.

The Police are said to have purchased products worth €286,482  and the Army spent €360,000 in 2014. HT used intermediaries in Thailand. The Post story says this:

HT’s partners in Thailand include Israel-based Nice Systems and Thai firms Placing Value Co and Netsurplus Co. In September 2012, Nice Systems met with people from several branches of the Royal Thai Army, including intelligence units, to conduct product demonstrations. They were shown “several key functionalities Nice has to offer for this market, which is characterised by poor legislation and no LEA [law enforcement agency] or intelligence connectivity to telecom service providers”.

Placing Value eventually became HT’s main partner and correspondence between the two started in October 2012.

Other emails included the electronics company Samart and ISOC, DSI and “narcotics agencies” are also mentioned, along with “military intelligence.”

As expected, “Army spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree said he is not aware of the purchase.”

National Human Rights Commissioner Niran Pithakwatchara is reported to have “slammed the use of spyware,” stating that it “is a violation of democratic principles…”. Perhaps he hasn’t noticed that Thailand is not a democracy. At the same time, these deals began as far back as 2012 when the military was already working to undermine the elected government and was spying extensively on political opponents.

When the capacity of the software purchased is considered, it would be a reasonable guess that “national security” was dominated by spying on those thought to have attacked the monarchy.

 


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