Dope-sniffing agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration are reportedly spying on all of the Internet activity in Colombia, according to a leaked email transmission regarding the federal agency’s surveillance tactics inside the South American country.
Last Monday, an email sent by Eduardo Pardo, who works as a Field Application Engineer for Hacking Team, began spreading on Twitter indicating that the DEA has purchased software that essentially gives them the power to Big Brother home computers and smartphones – not just in Colombia, but potentially in the United States.
Hacking Team is a Milan-based tech company that provides law enforcement and intelligence agencies all over the world with highly advanced spy ware. The company, while having made proclamations to not sell to nations boycotted by the U.S and NATO, is suspected of doing business with questionable regimes from Sudan to Egypt.
An article published earlier this week in Forbes reveals that since the company has expanded its offices to Maryland, the DEA and FBI has been working more frequently with the company “as they seek to break common encryption across mobiles and desktops.”
Interestingly, in a separate set of email leaked on Sunday from the email account of Eric Rabe, communications chief for Hacking Team, it exposes the organization for having a tight working relationship with the United States government, specifically with the DEA.
The latest email hack, entitled “Brief DEA Meeting in Colombia,” confirms this partnership. The message makes mention of the team’s rock star spy tool, Galileo, which is a Remote Control Service that allows government agencies to listen in on the lives of average citizens by accessing smartphone features. Essentially, the DEA, or “Katie, as the agency is referred to in code by Hacking Team, has dropped over $2 million to turn cell phones all over the world into a bug that gives them complete control over mobile devices.
Hacking Team’s message verifies this technology is already in position inside the American embassy in Bogota, which is enough to cause some concerns right here in the United States. In the email leaks that took place over last weekend, several U.S. agencies voiced whether the implementation of this spy ware would be legal on American soil. Because of this, the DEA said it was simply opting to employ to program in foreign lands where it would be “less problematic.” Yet, considering the underhanded acts this agency has been responsible for throughout the years, the concept of this system being used against U.S. citizens is not a stretch.
Reports show that all of the Uncle Sam’s purchases of the Galileo software have been made secretly through a government contractor named Cicom USA.