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Paranoia thrives at the ISS World cybersurveillance tradeshow

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Bloomberg reports on the ISS World electronic surveillance tradeshow, where creators of professional-grade spyware and other interception technologies meet with government officials from around the world.

ISS World
ISS World

Carrier IQ may have made the headlines this year for tracking your phone data, but the most sophisticated surveillance technology gets marketed and sold strictly behind the scenes. One of the biggest venues for the companies making these tools is ISS World, hosted several times a year in cities around the world by conference producer TeleStrategies. Between private meetings with government delegates, companies give talks like "Lawful Interception in Broadband Access Networks" or "Governmental IT Intrusion: Applied Hacking Techniques used by Government Agencies."

The show is also allegedly a site for attempted espionage on a massive scale, as spies recruit sources and attendees secure their laptops and phones against the theft of sensitive information. Journalists aren't usually allowed into ISS World, but Bloomberg has published a lengthy piece on the conference, detailing not only the official deals but also the pervading atmosphere of intrigue and paranoia. There's undoubtedly some sensationalism at play — we're not convinced, for example, that the executive behind professional-grade spyware software FinFisher actually resembles James Bond — but the piece is worth a read for its focus on the fascinating culture of the surveillance industry.