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Arms giant BAE sold powerful mass surveillance equipment to Arab states: BBC report

Muhammad Irfan 08:56 PM | 15 Jun, 2017
Arms giant BAE sold powerful mass surveillance equipment to Arab states: BBC report
LONDON - Global arms firm BAE Systems sold powerful mass surveillance equipment to six Middle Eastern nations with repressive human rights records, investigators claim, while warning that the technology could be used to track and hack dissidents.

The BBC report appears to show that the powerful and invasive hacking technology, which was made by a Danish firm that was bought by BAE in 2011, was sold to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Oman, as well as North African states Morocco and Algeria.

The documents also reveal official concerns that the export of the technology could backfire and imperil the security of Britain and its allies, the BBC said.

The technology, known as Evident, can be used to track individuals using their mobile phones and is said to be capable of boring through sophisticated encryption.

Evident, which was developed by Denmark-based BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, can reportedly also collect, collate and analyse massive amounts of personal online data.

One former employee told the BBC: “You would be able to intercept any internet traffic. If you wanted to do a whole country, go ahead.

“You would probably need something to narrow your search down, either by a specific person, a specific email address, specific IP address or specific keywords to search for.”

Former members of Tunisian intelligence spoke to the BBC about how they used Evident to track dissidents for the regime of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who was deposed in 2011.

“The tool works with keywords. You put in an opponent’s name. You will see all the sites, blogs, social networks related to that user,” one said.

“Sometimes they would ask me to get information about specific people… some information used to go directly to the president. Most of this was about his opponents,” the other told journalists.

A 2015 memo from a British official, also reportedly been seen by the BBC, seems to indicate the British feared the power of the technology themselves.

A note asking for a license to export Evident was reportedly turned down because the British feared it could be used to hack past their own encryption and that of their allies.

In the end, Danish authorities are said to have allowed the export to go ahead because their own ministers and spies did not object.

BAE declined to comment on “specific contracts,” telling the BBC they work “for a number of organisations around the world within the regulatory framework of all relevant countries and within our responsible trading principles.”

Muhammad Irfan

The writer is a staff member. He has been affiliated with Pakistan's leading English newspapers and worked as News Producer at FM 107.4. Death (as...he believes...life is a station, and death is a longest journey from seen to ...

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KARACHI - Following are the foreign currency exchange rates for US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound Sterling, U.A.E. Dirham, European Euro, and other foreign currencies in Pakistan open market on January 27, 2023 (Friday).

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 07:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 253.5 255.5
Euro EUR 274 276.7
UK Pound Sterling GBP 311 314
U.A.E Dirham AED 68.7 69.3
Saudi Riyal SAR 66.4 67
Australian Dollar AUD 176 178
Bahrain Dinar BHD 615.68 620.18
Canadian Dollar CAD 186 188
China Yuan CNY 34.12 34.37
Danish Krone DKK 33.83 34.18
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 29.52 29.87
Indian Rupee INR 2.81 2.89
Japanese Yen JPY 2.5 2.54
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 756.69 761.69
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 52.59 53.04
New Zealand Dollar NZD 148.33 149.53
Norwegians Krone NOK 22.43 22.73
Omani Riyal OMR 600.37 604.87
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 63.5 64
Singapore Dollar SGD 178 179.3
Swedish Korona SEK 21.78 22.08
Swiss Franc CHF 250.23 251.98
Thai Bhat THB 6.98 7.08

KARACHI – The price of a single tola of 24-karat gold in Pakistan is Rs197,900 on Friday. The price of 10 grams of 24k gold was recorded at Rs168,000.

Likewise, 10 grams of 22k gold were being traded for Rs150,300 while a single tola of 22-karat gold was being sold at Rs 173,200.

Note: The gold rate in Pakistan is fluctuating according to the international market so the price is never been fixed. The below rates are provided by local gold markets and Sarafa Markets of different cities.

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Karachi PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Islamabad PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Peshawar PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Quetta PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Sialkot PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Attock PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Gujranwala PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Jehlum PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Multan PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Bahawalpur PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Gujrat PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Nawabshah PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Chakwal PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Hyderabad PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Nowshehra PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Sargodha PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Faisalabad PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100
Mirpur PKR 197,900 PKR 2,100

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