Following a complaint filed in October 2011 by the Human Rights League and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), French judicial authorities announced last Monday they opened a probe into the activities of Amesys, a subsidiary of French technology firm Bull, accused of having supplied cyber espionage equipment to Mouammar Kadhafi’s Libya.
Unveiled in June 2011, the Amesys case took on the dimension of a real scandal when, at the end of August 2011, reporters of US daily “The Wall Street Journal” published documents discovered in the rubble of a Libyan official building.
According to these documents, including contracts belonging to the company, Amesys have been supplying the Libyan regime with an internet monitoring system, dubbed Eagle, since 2007. The regime had reportedly used the equipment to monitor the population’s internet communications.
Amesys admitted that a contract had been actually struck with Kaddafi’s regime but noted that this took place at a moment when Libya was more well thought-of and when France was seeking to get closer to the North African country. On the other hand, the equipment supplied under this contract was an analysis equipment concerning few thousand existing internet connections. Libyan authorities must have diverted the use of the equipment from its initial purpose, Amesys said.
This case might have implications up to the summit of the French power in case it turns out that Amesys, at the request of Libya, developed this software, which can be considered, in spite of the lack of regulations on the matter, as a weapon with regard to the use which would have been made of it.