NSW Police(The New South Wales Police Force) are using sophisticated hacking software to spy on smartphones and computers during criminal investigations, according to documents published by WikiLeaks on Monday.
FinFisher, also known as FinSpy, is surveillance software sold by German company Gamma International. The software is typically used by intelligence and policing agencies to break into computers and mobiles and can secretly log keystrokes and take screenshots.It can also remotely capture Skype and instant messenger conversations and take control of computer microphones and web cameras to listen in.
The documents show NSW Police purchased approximately $2.5 million worth of licences for the software, starting in September 2011. They reveal the agency has held nine licences for FinSpy, FinFly, FinIntrusion, FinSpy Mobile and FinFireWire over the past three years.
NSW Police is named as the only Australian agency among many around the world to have spent a collective $72 million on the software.NSW Police did not deny the spyware’s use.
“Given this technology relates to operational capabilility [sic], it’s not appropriate to comment,” a police spokesman said.
The software gave its users the ability to virtually look over the shoulders of any target. More often than not he said the software was able to be installed remotely by its users.NSW Council for Civil Liberties spokesman Stephen Blanks said he was uncomfortable with the software’s use.
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