“An expensive communication interception system known as “Galileo” that currently operates in Yucatán, is used for spying purposes and to “attack” on individuals, prestigious media companies and journalists“, according to an investigation by the Mexican newspaper PorEsto!
Research indicates that the system was installed at the site located on Calle 6 No. 339 (between 3-A and 3-B) Col. Gonzalo Guerrero in the north of Merida. This facility is guarded by members of the Ministry of Public Security of Yucatan (SSP), as evidenced by reporters of PorEsto! The spacious two-storey house is protected by walls three meters high, has surveillance cameras and visitors are scrutinized through an intercom system before entering the premises.
On Thursday July 9th, SSP patrols with numbers 5888 and 5916 remained at watch, 30 meters away from the property, one on the conrer of Calle 3-B and the other on Calle 6. The spacious building is located on the corner of Prolongación Paseo de Montejo and Calle 3-B, near the Lincoln, Toyota and Volvo car dealerships.
The “Galileo” system, developed by the Italian company named “Hacking Team”, is able to intercept e-mails and files, and activate cameras and microphones to observe people and their activities; and also to listen to private telephone conversations at a distance.
Hacking Team is a Milan-based information technology company that sells offensive intrusion and surveillance capabilities to governments and law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Por Esto underlines that: “This situation makes privacy disappear and broad social sectors in the Yucatan remain under the integral, social control of a minority“.
The “Citizen Laboratory” of the University of Toronto in Canada reported two years ago that the “Galileo” system has been used for espionage purposes and to attack prestigious media and journalists, as well as to brutally suppress movements and social protests, as it happened in Egypt and Turkey.
The State Government of Yucatan paid approximatelly 400,000 euros (about 7 million pesos at the current exchange rate) to install the Galileo Remote Control System . According to the Administration Department of the Italian company “Hacking Team”, Galileo is currently operating in Yucatan, as was reported on July 6, 2015 at 05:13 hours; The system was acquired with contract number 021.2014, which coincides with a bill that the company “Elite by Carga” paid the Italian company for that transaction.
This Italian firm, specialized in security, surveillance and tactical equipment has declared that the Government of the State of Yucatan is one of their clients; with business contract No. 021-2014, registered on October 15, 2014. And that they paid for this system the amount of 396,109 euros (6.2 million pesos), in two payments, first payment to place the order, and second payment on delivery.
The Yucatan State Government denied any link with any of these companies (Hacking Team, Elite by Carga or the Galileo software), but the evidence made public after the hacking of “Hacking Team” speak otherwise.
“Hacking Team” employees recently distributed without authorization internal confidential documents that detailed the business dealing of the company, including its government contracts.
This spy equipment is so sophisticated that the Italian company presents itself as “a furtive investigational device, intended for government officials responsible for law enforcement (through) aggressive technology security, spyware, a Trojan horse useful for surveillance, attack and control of electronic terminals. In other words, a useful computers’ control device. ”
The Galileo System is able to break the encryption used for emails, files and VOIP protocols.
• Is able to monitor files and emails, even those using PGP technology, Skype conversations and all other protocols VOIP and instant messaging.
• The system makes it possible to target acquisition and identification of contacts, to activate remote cameras and microphones worldwide.
• The software is able to simultaneously monitor hundreds of thousands of computers in a single region or country.
• Their Trojans can infect Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Symbian and Blackberry.
• The system can capture data that is stored in any computer, even if this computer never sends the information over the Internet.
• Allows government surveillance of an encrypted Internet communication, even when the target is connected to a network that the government can not access to listen to phone calls.
• Has ability to copy files from the hard disk of a computer, record skype calls, emails, instant messages and passwords.
• You can activate the web camera and microphone device to spy on any device connected to the web.
According to their “Customer Policy” Hacking Team provides software only to governments or government agencies. They do not sell products to individuals or private businesses. They do not sell products to governments or to countries blacklisted by the U.S., E.U., U.N., NATO or ASEAN.
They review potential customers before a sale to determine whether or not there is objective evidence or credible concerns that Hacking Team technology provided to the customer will be used to facilitate human rights violations.
They fully comply with dual use and export controls called for in the nineteenth plenary meeting of the Wassenaar Arrangement. Moreover, in HT contracts, they require customers to abide by applicable law. They reserve the right in their contracts to suspend support for use of their software if they find terms of their contracts are violated.
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