Why Scotland Buying Israeli Phone-Hacking Kit is Dangerous – Bella Caledonia

Protect yourself from online attacks that threaten your identity, your files, your system, and your financial well-being.


THE expulsion of democratically elected members of the Hong Kong Legislative Assembly exposes once again the intolerance of dissent under Beijing’s authoritarian state capitalism.  China is now a model for the 21st surveillance state with its citizenry increasingly subject to electronic monitoring of a sort even George Orwell’s Big Brother could not dream of.  Meanwhile, in totalitarian Belarus, the state is using exactly the same phone hacking and data technology as in China to monitor opponents of the regime.  Ditto Saudi Arabia, which used related phone tech to follow the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the lead-up to his assassination and dismemberment by Saudi agents, in Istanbul in October 2018.

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But what has this got to do with social democratic Scotland, you will ask?  The answer is that Police Scotland has acquired its own phone hacking equipment – in this case, specifically to bypass passcode locks on mobile handsets – from the very same company as supplies Beijing, Minsk and Riyadh with their repressive surveillance equipment.  That company is called Cellebrite, an Israeli digital intelligence supplier, headquartered in the Petah Tikva district of Tel Aviv.

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According to company figures, in mid-2019 Cellebrite had 45% of the global mobile telephone forensics market.  Its managers claim that Cellebrite products are the first work tool in 75% of police investigations everywhere.  Even if this is an exaggeration, Cellebrite is the go-to digital technology for police forces everywhere. It is also bought in volume by private sector companies for internal security, snooping on employees and industrial espionage.

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CELLEBRITE AND SCOTLAND

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Cellebrite is one of the leading Israeli security tech companies.  It specialises in so-called “mobile forensics” – the software and gizmos to break into your mobile phone.  Cellebrite claims to have sold its products to over 150 foreign law enforcement agencies.  Forget all that guff you hear about the cops begging Apple to unlock a suspect’s phone and being told that would break privacy conventions. You simply buy some kit from Cellebrite, plug it in and hey presto all your phone secrets are…

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