Monday, October 24, 2016

the little-known company that enables worldwide mass surveillance


theintercept |  Endace says it manufactures technology that allows its clients to “monitor, intercept and capture 100% of traffic on networks.” The Auckland-based company’s motto is “power to see all” and its logo is an eye.

The company’s origins can be traced back to Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand. There, in 1994, a team of professors and researchers began developing network monitoring technology using university resources. A central aim of the project was to find ways to measure different kinds of data on the internet, which was at that time only just beginning to take off. Within a few years, the academics’ efforts proved successful; they had managed to invent pioneering network monitoring tools. By 2001, the group behind the research started commercializing the technology — and Endace was formed.

Today, Endace presents itself publicly as focused on providing technology that helps companies and governments keep their networks secure. But in the past decade, it has quietly entered into a burgeoning global spy industry that is worth in excess of an estimated $5 billion annually.

In 2007, Endace representatives promoted their technology at a huge surveillance technology trade show in Dubai that was attended by dozens of government agencies from across the world. Endace’s advertising brochures from the show, which described the company’s products and promoted the need for greater state surveillance, were published by WikiLeaks in 2013.

One Endace brochure explained how the company’s technology could help clients “monitor all network traffic inexpensively.” It noted that telecommunications networks carry many types of information: Skype calls, videos, emails, and instant message chats. “These networks provide rich intelligence for law enforcement,” the brochure stated, “IF they can be accessed securely and with high precision.”