Met Police and UK Government implicated in TrapWire scandal

Leaked communications suggest involvement in mass global surveillance network.

CCTV cameras

Emails released by WikiLeaks appear to show the UK Government and London's Metropolitan Police Service (Met) are involved in controversial surveillance network, TrapWire.

One email in a set stolen from global intelligence firm Stratfor by hactivists Anonymous and leaked via WikiLeaks states:

"We have an agreement in principle with Abraxas (TrapWire) to provide streaming sitreps' to their clients via their desktop/homepage by the end of July. Their clients include Scotland Yard, #10 Downing, the White House, and many MNC's (multinational corporations)."

TrapWire is a surveillance service that collates data from CCTV cameras, number plate readers and open source databases. It is understood to use facial recognition technology and reportedly also scours social networks with the aim of catching terrorists in the planning and reconnaissance phases of an attack.

The service is proving controversial, as privacy activists are concerned TrapWire is too intrusive and could be used to profile and store data on innocent people. Additionally, according to a white paper produced by TrapWire's parent company Abraxas, the bigger the service gets, the more powerful it becomes and emails released by WikiLeaks indicate an intention to unify the service across geopolitical jurisdictions.

Further controversy surrounds the relationship between Abraxas, which provides what it describes as "risk mitigation technology for the national security community", and Stratfor, which has been described variously as a shadow' and private' CIA.

A statement from Anonymous said: "The more we learn about TrapWire and similar systems, it becomes absolutely clear that we must at all costs shut this system down and render it useless.

"A giant AI electronic brain able to monitor us through a combination of access to all the CCTV cameras as well as all the online social media feeds is monstrous and Orwellian in it's (sic) implications and possibilities. [We] will now put forth a call to arms, and initiate the doom of this evil and misbegotten program."

A UK Government spokesperson refused to confirm or deny its use of the TrapWire system. A spokesperson for the Met, on the other hand, told IT Pro "We have no knowledge of any contract or discussion re the product."

Featured Resources

The definitive guide to warehouse efficiency

Get your free guide to creating efficiencies in the warehouse

Free download

The total economic impact™ of Datto

Cost savings and business benefits of using Datto Integrated Solutions

Download now

Three-step guide to modern customer experience

Support the critical role CX plays in your business

Free download

Ransomware report

The global state of the channel

Download now

Recommended

Dual citizen sentenced to 11 years for role in North Korean crypto hacking scheme
hacking

Dual citizen sentenced to 11 years for role in North Korean crypto hacking scheme

10 Sep 2021
HPE inks $2 billion high-performance computing deal with the NSA
high-performance computing (HPC)

HPE inks $2 billion high-performance computing deal with the NSA

1 Sep 2021
State Department reportedly suffers a cyber attack
hacking

State Department reportedly suffers a cyber attack

23 Aug 2021
Indiana notifies 750,000 after COVID-19 tracing data accessed
data breaches

Indiana notifies 750,000 after COVID-19 tracing data accessed

18 Aug 2021

Most Popular

What are the pros and cons of AI?
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

8 Sep 2021
Citrix mulling potential sale after tumultuous 2021
mergers and acquisitions

Citrix mulling potential sale after tumultuous 2021

15 Sep 2021
Zoom: From pandemic upstart to hybrid work giant
video conferencing

Zoom: From pandemic upstart to hybrid work giant

14 Sep 2021