WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has repeated the claim that South African companies are producing interception equipment for spying on civilian communications. He made the revelation during a WeChat video call to the annual Net Prophet conference in Cape Town.

“I haven’t been following South Africa, but there has to be many (secrets about South African intelligence). If you look before Edward Snowden’s leaks there were the Spy Files. There are a number of South African contractors mentioned,” he said.

Continuing with South Africa, he mentioned that at least four years ago there were some South African companies who were selling whole nation telephone data recording systems for a period of six months. “So for something like that, you have to go back in time and investigate. There is evidence that cities like Dubai are using it.”

Last year, Privacy International asked the South African government to explain an R3.5 million investment in VASTech, whose equipment was discovered to have been used by the Ghaddafi regime in Libya. The system in question received funds from a pot of cash earmarked for investing in new technologies, despite having been in operation since 2005.

Assange added that there are documents from the Snowden leak that in the Bahamas, someone is recording telephone calls directly off of the public network without authorisation. Corrupted contractors were used to install spyware on the telephone lines, he alleges.

“That enforces the belief that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is in Latin America.”

Circling back to South Africa, he mentioned the interception equipment. “There is in South Africa an industry producing massive interception equipment, so companies are sufficiently endowed by this.”

Speaking about WikiLeaks, Assange said that the company is about changing things for the better. “I think it takes a lot of work to stop global civilizations from going to the dogs. You can never leave a territory or country uncontested.

“It has been proven that the NSA doesn’t follow regulation. This is an example where I say that regulation and politics is provably useless. When you talk about agencies who operate in secret and use complex technology, it is inevitably corrupted,” Assange said.

But he was quick to add that legal steps should still be pursued against these agencies.

“But that does mean the legislative sphere shouldn’t be abandoned. Preventing things from becoming worse is the work we do. We are proud of our work – we just need to look at the number of people that have been released from prison or who were kidnapped. I think, yes, we have done some significant work that has achieved most of our goals.”

Asked by a panelist if he would do everything he did over again, his answer was simple: “All the major things, yes. I would do it again”.

[Image – DarkHorseNet]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.