A chilling new technology in the hands of government intelligence agencies has the ability to commandeer any smart camera and even “alter feeds” to manipulate both its sound and images – including past recordings, reports the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The Big Brother-like software — used by the national intelligence agency Mossad — has been traded since 2018 with states around the world by the company of a former Israel Defense Force cyber chief, Toka.
But it is only recently that the true power of this superior hacking tool has been revealed.
Its top secret clients have the “previously out of reach capabilities” to locate all security and web cameras within a given perimeter with the ability to mine feeds to watch, hack or even heal – including previous footage – at their discretion , reports the newspaper.
Specifically, it can “transform untapped resources” [Internet of things] sensors in intelligence sources” in the interest of “intelligence and operational needs,” according to internal company documents from 2021 obtained by Haaretz.
Additionally, these tools allow users to “discover and access security and smart cameras” that help assess a “targeted area.” There is another ‘access’ technology known as ‘Automotive Crime and Intelligence’ which can also ‘wirelessly’ geolocate vehicles.
The spy service – the elements of which are bundled together as a package – also boasts its capabilities to erase or alter images in real time, calling the practice “hiding on-site activities” for “covert operations”.
“These are capabilities that were previously unimaginable,” said human rights lawyer Alon Sapir. “This is dystopian technology from a human rights perspective. Its mere existence raises serious questions.
Sapir worries that situations in which the government uses the technology could be abused.
“One can imagine the video being manipulated to incriminate innocent citizens or protect culprits close to the system, or even simply manipulative editing for ideological or even political purposes if it falls into the wrong hands,” he said. .
A company spokesperson told Haaretz that “Toka conducts a rigorous annual review and approval process that is guided by international corruption, rule of law and civil liberties indices and aided by outside advisers with extensive and reputable expertise in anti-corruption practices”.
The Toka representative added that its only customers are “the United States and its closest allies…Toka does not sell to private customers or individuals.”
“Under no circumstances will our company sell our products to countries or entities sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department or prohibited by the Israel Defense Export Control Agency – limiting our potential customer base to agencies within less than one-fifth from every country in the world.”
Toka, which has offices in both Tel Aviv and Washington DC, has planned an “expansion of the existing deployment” in its host country, according to Haaretz.