WikiLeaks Spy Files 

WikiLeaks Spy Files The interactive searchable database

The interactive searchable database

On the 15th of September 2014 WikiLeaks released its last batch of leaked Spy Files -  which it had started releasing in 2011. One of Silk's data journalists Alice Corona cleaned and structured the data to build an interactive database combining the four Spy Files releases. 

For an analysis only of the Spy Files 4 data, click here. You will be able to visualize interactive and filterable graphs, like a map of the known customers of Gamma's FinFisher.

Currently, there are 559 leaked company documents, and 15 location tracking reports from WikiLeaks Counter Intelligence Unit (WLCIU). The 559 files disclose to the public internal documents from more than 100 companies specialized in intelligence and (mass) surveillance technologies. These technologies are sold both to Western governments and to dictators, and have been used by the Syrian government. The 15 documents from WLCIU reveal the timestamps and locations of 20 members of these companies, whose whereabouts WikiLeaks has decided to track in order to show where the main surveillance contractors are sending its people. But what does the Spy Files database actually contain? Which are the most recurring intelligence companies and what systems do they target? How to download exactly the leaked document your research calls for? To answer these questions, we've decided to import WikiLeaks's DB into Silk, to combine it with semantic technologies, a powerful query engine and a user-friendly interactive visualization interface. 

You can now:

  • Search through all leaked documentscompanies and subjects tracked by WLCIU from filterable tables, clicking on each one for its specific facts and visualizations.

  • Create maps and charts to visualize, explore and share interesting statistics and views from the database. All it takes is a few clicks to choose a type of graph and decide which variables to plot, which filters to apply and how to sort the data. Click "Explore" next to the following visualizations to get started and customize them as you wish.

Blue Coat, Cobham and Gamma: companies of 20% of the total leaks

Three companies together make up a fifth of all the files in the Spy Files leaks. Blue CoatCobham and Gamma. The documents from these companies reveal how their implications in producing mass surveillance technologies that could easily fall into mission creep. An example, the brochure from Gamma's "FinFly ISP Project Turkmenistan", which states "The System(s) to be deployed in this project can only INFECT international traffic of ADSL, dial-up and the fixed IP-Address broadband subscribers in Turkmen Telecom network and Mobile Subscribers using a Notebook / PC as the terminal to access the Internet via the Gateways between the Mobile Network Provider TMCell and Turkmen Telecom."

Common tags for leaks: interception, surveillance and mass monitoring

Most of Spy Files 3 documents are tagged with information on their content. The following table shows the most common tags. Use the filter to focus on a specific company, year, country or disclosure.

Top 20 tags used for documents of Spy Files

*Note: This information is only available for Spy Files 3

Phones are the most targeted system in Spy Files 3

The last disclosure of Spy Files contains information on the communication systems and protocols targeted by the surveillance technology mentioned in the documents.

Systems targeted by surveillance, count of documents that refer to each.

*Note: This information is only available for Spy Files 3

While phones are the most common targets, documents reveal how covert surveillance technologies are also monitoring citizens' Facebook and Twitter activity.

Leaked Company Documents (Spy Files 1, 2, 3) pages with Facebook in Target System

*Note: This information is only available for Spy Files 3

Western world, but also Israel, Russia, Oman, China...and many others

The leaks reveal how surveillance companies are implied in traffic with western countries (USA, UK, France and Germany in the lead), but also in places where the risk of mission creep is high and these technologies could easily be used against civil society, activists and political opponents.

For example the Location Tracking Solutions by NICE, whose slogans advertise key benefits like "Locate Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere"; "Identify New Targets and Suspects" and "Mass Data Collection". The company, with offices in Europe and North America, is headquartered in Israel. Filtering the following chart for "Contract Material" as document type also gives access insights, revealing how Oman, Israel and Turkmenistan have ties with these companies. For example, the document on Infection Proxy Project 1, leaked from Dreamlab (Switzerland), has a chapter about "On-Site installation, integration to existing infrastructure and tests in Oman". A report by Citizen Lab focused on Gamma's FinFisher revealed evidence on its use for "politically motivated targeting". 

Number of leaked company documents per country

*Note: This information is only available for Spy Files 3

report by Citizen Lab focused on Gamma's FinFisher revealed evidence on its use for "politically motivated targeting". The Spy Files contain the following leaks documenting the product.



For an interactive table with the description of these software, click here.  Choosing each product will allow also to visualize details on its customers and the licenses it purchased.

Watching the watchers: WikiLeaks Counter Intelligence Unit

Together with the release of the third disclosure of Spy Files, WikiLeaks published also details about the data collected by its WLCIU in its location tracking operations against 20 members of intelligence companies.

Subjects tracked by WLCIU pages grouped by Company



The full database with timestamps for each location is available here. Filtering for specific companies in the following table helps to visualize clearly how, especially the following companies, have showed interest in countries with low democracy scores.

  • Gamma: UAE, Lebanon, Turkey, Bahrain, Nigeria, Brunei, Qatar, Oman

  • Cobham: Qatar, Lebanon, UAE

  • Hacking Team: Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan

  • Elaman: Oman, UAE, Azerbajan, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey

Number of subjects who visited different countries (top 20)



More Silks: 

Follow @SilkDotCo or tweet us your feedback!

About this site

This site was created with Silk, a platform for easily structuring information, so that it can be organized, queried, visualized and shared in a few clicks. The Silk team built this as a demonstration project. You can contact us at feedback@silk.co

The data used for this Silk is all from WikiLeaks's Spy Files. However it has been cleaned, aggregated, normalized and restructured in order to create a relational database. The results of this is five .CSV files, all of which are released under CC-BY SA 4.0 at this link.