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In a 'Plot Twist', Wikileaks Releases Documents It Claims Detail Russia Mass Surveillance Apparatus (techcrunch.com) 168

WikiLeaks, believed by many to be a Kremlin front, surprised some observers Tuesday morning (Snowden called it a "plot twist") when it released documents linking a Russian tech company with access to thousands of citizens' telephone and internet communications with Moscow. From a report: Writing a summary of the cache of mostly Russian-language documents, Wikileaks claims they show how a long-established Russian company which supplies software to telcos is also installing infrastructure, under state mandate, that enables Russian state agencies to tap into, search and spy on citizens' digital activity -- suggesting a similar state-funded mass surveillance program to the one utilized by the U.S.'s NSA or by GCHQ in the U.K. (both of which were detailed in the 2013 Snowden disclosures). The documents which Wikileaks has published (there are just 34 "base documents" in this leak) relate to a St. Petersburg-based company, called Peter-Service, which it claims is a contractor for Russian state surveillance. The company was set up in 1992 to provide billing solutions before going on to become a major supplier of software to the mobile telecoms industry.
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In a 'Plot Twist', Wikileaks Releases Documents It Claims Detail Russia Mass Surveillance Apparatus

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  • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @03:28PM (#55226911)

    For politicians, revealing their misdeeds means you're an agent of their enemy. Not having any honesty or integrity themselves, they don't entertain the thought someone's agenda might be something else than supporting a particular political party.

    • Calling it a "Kremlin front" is pretty ridiculous. While they did probably get played by Russians... Assange is an asshole, but he is a principled asshole.
  • Is there a forthcoming article by a western new source about to pop? Get the spin out early and make it look like it is OK because "everyone is doing it." Just read Wikileaks's editorial comments: "suggesting a similar state-funded mass surveillance program to the one utilized by the U.S.'s NSA or by GCHQ in the U.K"
    • Well, nobody can credibly deny that all those mass surveillance systems were made to look inward and spy after country's own citizenry.

      Ever seen spies sending messages to their governments on Facebook?

  • Too late, Julian (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

    I guess he's getting tired of living in his Ecuadorian mom's basement and his 15 minutes of fame are over about an hour ago. Let that co-opted weasel dangle.

    From the article:

    "So it’s entirely possible Wikileaks/Assange is here trying to deflect from such charges by finally dumping something on Russia."

    Gee, ya think? They've now released thirty-four whole documents and they're looking for a pat on the back.

    • Too late, Hillary (Score:3, Informative)

      by mi ( 197448 )

      Let that co-opted weasel dangle.

      In 2010 [slashdot.org] you both held Mr. Assange in higher regard and pointed out to those, who'd consider him "an ass":

      One must be careful not to dismiss the truth because it's delivered by an "ass".

      But now that your precious Hillary has blamed him [thehill.com], you are not only call him names yourself, but do dismiss the truth he delivers... Or is "ass" materially different from "weasel"?..

      • Or is "ass" materially different from "weasel"?

        Jumping in... I'd just like to remind everyone that weasels have asses.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Lol still obsessed with Hillary, so sad. I bet you have some great thoughts on her recent book you didn't read and just read someone else tell you what was in it and why you should be hysterically angry at it.

      • In 2010 [slashdot.org] you both held Mr. Assange in higher regard

        In 2010, I held Jay Cutler in higher regard too. But since then he's also turned out to be a phony and a waste of space. 2010 was the year the rape allegations came out and Assange chose to run into hiding rather than fight them. 2010 was also the year he chose to make Wikileaks a tool of his personal agenda.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You didn't answer the guys point though. Your original thought was "you shouldn't dismiss the truth because it's delievered by an ass."

          Now you think Assange is an ass you seem pretty willing to dismiss the truth simply because he tells you it.

          We aren't wondering why you think Assange is an ass, we're wondering why you have changed the amount of value you place on being told the truth. I'm willing to be that you only want the truth as long as it's convenient and easy to slot into what you allready believe...

          • If someone digs for the truth and gets general truth out, that's good. If someone publishes some truths, that's less good. When someone publishes truths in ways designed to help or hurt a political candidate, rather than as a dump, that person is a politician and should be judged accordingly.

      • Oh, he's an ass, helping an enemy of press freedom instead of an inadequate friend of same.
    • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @04:03PM (#55227181) Homepage Journal

      I guess he's getting tired of living in his Ecuadorian mom's basement and his 15 minutes of fame are over about an hour ago. Let that co-opted weasel dangle.

      Does this actually matter?

      I've often wondered why people keep trotting out these sorts of attacks. It's saying, literally, "this is not a good thing, because the person is somehow bad".

      Firstly, it's only your opinion.

      Secondly, Julian does not seem to have a lot of conceit, pompousness, or self-importance in other matters - including interviews. He's certainly confident and well-informed, but I haven't seen anything particularly negative about his demeanour.

      Attention whore is an explanation of this one action, but with no other corroborating evidence do you think the explanation is likely? Are other explanations more likely than this one?

      Thirdly, and most importantly, is this in any way relevant? Is there some reason we can't say "good job, Julian!" and think that maybe his actions are doing some good for the world?

      Must we discount this achievement because he's not your model of perfection?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Must we discount this achievement because he's not your model of perfection?

        Yes, because IT WAS HER TURN!

        That's all this boils down to. Remember: these fuckos were singing Assange's praises and nominating him for all the Nobel Prizes (even Chemistry!) when he was revealing shit about Bush.

      • Is there some reason we can't say "good job, Julian!" and think that maybe his actions are doing some good for the world?

        Probably because this is the internet. Everyone on the internet hates everyone.

    • Maybe, just maybe, docs don't get leaked from Russia as often? I'm guessing this has to do with the reputation Russian leadership has for brutally killing those that cross them...
    • He's a white male so therefore literally Hitler amirite?

      • Nope. As far as I've been able to tell, he's a real jerk in his own right, regardless of race, sex, national origin, and other such things. He's done some good things in his time, but a lot of not so good things.

        • His personality was irrelevant when he was embarrassing GWB and his merry band of scumbags but because he embarrassed Hillary when it was HER TURN and maybe contributed to her losing he's now the enemy and clearly a Russian operative blah blah blah.

          • I didn't know much about him at that time. The Clinton releases I would feel better about if he'd done one large dump rather than spacing things out for increased political effect.

            He is a foreigner who deliberately influenced a US election in ways other than just infodumping.

            • The contents of the emails are what matter, not the personality or nationality of the messenger. Like I said before, it was fine for him to embarrass the âoeother sideâ but when he proved himself to be not be a left wing partisan then he became the demonic Russian puppet who ruined everything. Heâ(TM)s anti-establishment as far as I can tell and the DNCâ(TM)s disgraceful treatment of Bernie Sanders is more likely to have influenced the way he handled things than Vladimir Putin.

    • ... regarding assange, for years leading up to the 2016 election, in amongst your bleating yelps of "rapist! " . Someone needs to get you a new script.
      • He's hiding out, but nobody wants him. As a purveyor of information, he's damaged goods, desperately trying to stay relevant. You'll notice how the anti-US docs have dried up now that Putin's boy has become president.

        • Wikileaks has been releasing material on the CIA for months. Way to not respond to me at all though.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

            Wikileaks has been releasing material on the CIA for months. Way to not respond to me at all though.

            And despite the fact that the Trump administration has been leaking like a sieve, Wikileaks has released nothing on them. When you're an organization that prides itself on integrity, choosing sides politically is not a good look.

            • by Anonymous Coward
              If Trump is already leaking like a sieve. Whats the point in leaking more? Is it even possible to leak more?
            • What if the Trump-leakers decided to contact Fox or WSJ instead of Wikileaks? How would Wikileaks be able to publish that information? It's not like they magically get a copy of every document accidentally left on a train, or quietly spoken to a contact on while hiding in a cupboard at work.

            • by Rujiel ( 1632063 )
              Are you a bot or do you just copypaste shit? Are you capable of actually responding to anything that is said to you?
    • Not to mention what is damaging to western democracies isn't damaging to the Kremlin. The Kremlin wants its citizens to know they are monitored. They don't care if WikiLeaks leaks details of their enforce mechanisms for publicly touted surveillance powers.

      Now if they published corruption details that would be a different story.

  • Who? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "believed by many to be a Kremlin front"

    Who believes that?

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "believed by many to be a Kremlin front"

      Who believes that?

      Those that believe the Democratic political narrative in general, including many /. editors.

      • It's funny because they talked about creating that narrative in the very emails! Pity most people never actually read them and instead trusted people like CNN, who lied about them being altered when they're DKIM verified, had Chris Cuomo, who is an attorney who should know better, lie about it being illegal to read them, and who also helped rig the debates? Or maybe Bezos' WaPo, which was passing the DNC articles to review, working with Podesta, and running secret fundraisers with the DNC after the DNC's

    • He sure seemed interested in getting Trump elected. (It wasn't that he just released dirt on CLinton, but the way he dribbled it out for maximum political effect). I don't know if he's a Kremlin front, but he's not an impartial publisher.

  • by slapout ( 93640 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @03:36PM (#55226977)

    They found the US government was spying on its citizens and released proof. Now they've discovered that Russia is spying on its citizens and released proof. Seems consistent.

    • Yes but it's a steady trend.

      Yesterday: Revelation: US government is spying on its citizens
      Today: Err you probably know this: Russia is spying on its citizens.
      Tomorrow: Guys, China has a firewall.
      Saturday: WATER IS WET! AHHHH

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @03:42PM (#55227025)

    The headlines on Slashdot sure have changed over the years. You guys used to (figuratively) fellate Assange in the comments here, but one election cycle of punching your candidate for a change, and Wikileaks is a Russian front? That's some thin skin.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "but one election cycle of punching your candidate for a change, and Wikileaks is a Russian front?"

      Sorry, but a guy who injected himself in the election specifically because he personally didn't like a candidate deserves that title. When you selectively data dump what you have, vocally timing it up to drip to influence the US election, both practices that were different from past releases of simply dumping everything he had in troves as fast as he properly process it, you've become a tool, esp when it's cl

      • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @11:20PM (#55229339)

        Sorry, but a guy who injected himself in the election specifically because he personally didn't like a candidate deserves that title.

        A corrupt, incompetent candidate who allegedly said "can't we just drone this guy"? Golly Gee, I wonder why Assange might not like her. Were you whining, though, that Assange "just didn't like Bush" when he was publishing information about that president's war crimes?

        • Right. Reread what you wrote. You're agreeing that Assange was doing his best to stop Clinton from being elected, and you're making excuses for why.

          • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

            Right. Reread what you wrote.

            Uh, you first, Slick. Hillary Clinton was a complete and utter trainwreck of corrupt warmongering incompetence. Anyone with two neurons to rub together would want her as faaaaar from any position of power as possible. Now you take that, plus an alleged crack about getting someone murdered - it wouldn't be the first time [youtube.com] - and you think said person wouldn't have a perfectly valid self-interest in seeing that person lose an election?

            And that's assuming his decision was in any w

          • Right. Reread what you wrote. You're agreeing that Assange was doing his best to stop Clinton from being elected, and you're making excuses for why.

            As Uberbah pointed out already, Wikileaks published dirt on the Bush Jr. administration as well as HRC.

            Maybe he smiled a bit when WL published the Clinton/DNC emails after having his life threatened by HRC, but seeing as how WL has published dirt from *both sides*, I don't see any other reason than DNC/Clinton butthurt as a reason to accuse Assange/WL of plotting specifically against HRC.

            Strat

    • punching your candidate

      Well he would have punched both candidates, but one of them was standing in the corner beating on himself. For some reason voters considered that more trustworthy and he "won" by a photo finish.

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      Well, it is believed by many to be a Kremlin front.

      They're all stupid fuckwits, but they still believe it.

    • Start with some extremely suspicious behavior, compounded with obvious lies, around the rape allegations. I got really annoyed by people who swallowed whatever he said, no matter how implausible, no matter how wrong. His political campaigning against Clinton showed that he isn't an impartial truth dumper.

  • by arnott ( 789715 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @03:43PM (#55227033)
    WL had documents about Russia before. Here is an article [contraspin.co.nz] regarding it.
  • Fuck Off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @03:48PM (#55227079)

    WikiLeaks, believed by many to be a Kremlin front,

    List 5 such people who are not absolute retards. I'll wait.

  • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @03:53PM (#55227117) Homepage Journal

    WikiLeaks, believed by many to be a Kremlin front

    Whoa! WTF? Not kidding, this is the very first time I have heard this conspiracy theory.

    When you say "many", are you talking about a number of people approximately equal to the number of 9/11-Truthers? Half the number of Obama Birthers? C'mon, put this "many" into the units that we're familiar with, you know, like how you measure hard disks in terms of Libraries of Congress.

    • by mbkennel ( 97636 )
      | Whoa! WTF? Not kidding, this is the very first time I have heard this conspiracy theory.

      Uh, it's widely believed in the intelligence community, rumored that NSA/GCHQ has intercepts of Assange talking to Russians about this stuff and the election hacking.
    • Whoa! WTF? Not kidding, this is the very first time I have heard this conspiracy theory.

      You must be new here. I've seen this accusation made here frequently.

      When you say "many", are you talking about a number of people approximately equal to the number of 9/11-Truthers? Half the number of Obama Birthers? C'mon, put this "many" into the units that we're familiar with, you know, like how you measure hard disks in terms of Libraries of Congress.

      Your lack of experience with the material is immaterial [wikipedia.org]. It is a fact that many people have accused Wikileaks of Russian influence, especially over the last year and change.

    • You'd think, if you were trying to set up a 'front' that you'd find someone 'better' than Assange to lead it ;-)

  • WikiLeaks, believed by many to be a Kremlin front

    Read: butt-hurt Hillary supporters.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So the majority of everyone?

      • by ichthus ( 72442 )

        Are all Hillary supporters butt-hurt? Do all of you believe she lost because of the Russkies?

  • Now that would have been interesting.

  • Plot twist? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @04:05PM (#55227205)

    There's no plot twist, there's just a final revelation which will be largely unknown among the Russians because most media outlets are controlled by the Kremlin, as well as the largest social network in Russia.

    Everyone with a brain perfectly understands that Putin has always been lying about the state of surveillance and privacy in Russia. Largely there's none, because there's no law when it concerns the men in power. They do as they please.

    • Like most people knew that western governments were doing some spying on their own people too. However, seeing the actual documents, the details of how and when and what for - that's what's interesting.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    [by whom?] [citation needed]

  • Does anyone know weather or not there is any law that would lead lead people to believe they have a right to privacy in Russia? in the united states we have laws against illegal search? Does the same concept even exist in Russia?

  • by mbkennel ( 97636 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2017 @05:08PM (#55227651)
    Don't you fucking dare oppose Putin ever. We know everything.

    Most likely, the details are all falsified by the FSB (so NSA/GCHQ/BND doesn't get in), but the scope is authentic.
  • my ass. Stop repeating liberal propaganda bullshit.

    • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

      Annnnd the liberal McCarthyites have mod points, it seems. There's just as much evidence to support Obama having a fake birth certificate as there is that the Russians had anything to do with anything last year. They've become what they hated.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Disinformation: Vlad is throwing Peter Services under the bus while leaving the other sources of spying in the clear.

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
      I was thinking of the movie "North by Northwest" where characters played by Martin Landau "shoots" James Mason. Referring to earlier where they witnessed when Eve shot Roger in the Mt Rushmore cafe. "She used blanks. It's an old Gestapo trick. Shoot one of your own to not let them get suspicious. They just made it cleaner by using blanks."
  • In other news, Assange's hair and teeth have started falling out after latest balcony appearance.

  • It's sad seeing a once respectable technology site reduced to being the Faux News of the technology media.

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