Alleged widespread use of surveillance technology developed by ex-CIA agents leads to concerns, while some label the reaction as hysteria
Surveillance technology designed to track terrorists and criminals is being used by organisations across the world, including Scotland Yard and 10 Downing Street, according to emails released by Wikileaks.
The technology uses security cameras to detect patterns in behaviour over long periods of time. TrapWire, the company behind the system says it looks for "pre-attack indicators".
In the UK, the Daily Mail claimed the US government was spying on "EVERYONE", saying the technology had echoes of the film The Bourne Identity. In America, Slate said that the "hysteria" was the result of the lack of understanding about what the software can do.
TrapWire uses cameras and computers to monitor behaviour, track people's faces and the way they walk. It can also check number plates.
The latest release of emails from Wikileaks, dubbed the Global Intelligence Files, has raised concerns about the technology being used to prevent terrorism. Over five million emails sent between July 2004 and December 2011 have been obtained by Wikileaks from global intelligence firm Stratfor.
In one email looking to attract new business, Stratfor claims that TrapWire's clients include "Scotland Yard #10 Downing [and] the White House".
TrapWire is open about what it does. Its website has a detailed explanation of its technologies and clients. Organisations linked to the TrapWire system, including Downing Street and Scotland Yard, have either denied they use it or declined to comment.
Following the release of the emails, Wikileaks has been subjected to a sustained DDoS attack. The whistle-blowing website said that it was receiving 10GB of requests a second for the past week, making the site difficult to access.
At present Wikileaks is back online, with a group called AntiLeaks claiming responsibility for the attacks.
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