Sept. 21, 2017 | By Holly Dragoo
The website famous for leaking international state secrets, WikiLeaks.org, has released information that appears to show how Russia monitors Internet and phone users. According to the site, a Russian billing software company called PETER-SERVICE allegedly works with state law enforcement to enable electronic surveillance through its telecommunication client roster. This is a departure from previous leaks as the organization has demonstrated reluctance to publish Russian documents in years past. The latest revelations are not necessarily novel in content, but might imply a change of internal WikiLeaks policy or indicate more info is coming.
IISP Analyst Holly Dragoo: "The Russian national surveillance System for Operative Investigative Activities (SORM, in Russian) has been around in some form since 1995, and is well documented. The fact that a private company outside the service provider industry is involved and has access to or is potentially developing intrusive software or cultivating a more in-depth relationship with Russian authorities is also not surprising. The technical specs provided are not terribly detailed enough to be meaningful; deep packet inspection is practiced world-wide, for many legitimate purposes. Also, privacy is culturally not as valued in Russia as it is in the West. It’s actually hard to guess what WikiLeaks’ goal is by revealing this information, especially since it is publicly available. Is it to show they can? Is it somehow trying to counter all the complaints that it is a pro-Russia organization? I’m actually baffled."
For further reading
- Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/09/19/wikileaks-releases-files-that-appear-to-offer-details-of-russian-surveillance-system/?utm_term=.b16abd1b3e66
- RussiaToday: https://www.rt.com/news/403937-wikileaks-russia-spy-files/
- WikiLeaks: https://wikileaks.org/spyfiles/russia/
- About SORM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SORM