Amidst the furor over the drip-drip-drip of NSA spying allegations and rumors that Edward Snowden would seek asylum in Ecuador, Buzzfeed journalist Rosie Gray published a series of documents concerning Ecuador’s intellgience service, SENAIN. According to the documents, Ecuador purchased telephonic monitoring equipment and was monitoring the online communications of opposition political figures and journalists.
Ecuador’s Minister of the Interior responded on June 27, suggesting that the documents were a “fabrication”, although he conceded that Ecuador has sought to purchase surveillance equipment, which he bizarrely claimed had solved “100 percent of kidnapping cases.” He issued a further warning: “We invite the national or international press to demonstrate one single case of groundless wiretapping.You have 24 hours to do so, or you will be determined to be liars.”
What followed, however, appears to contradict the claims of Ecuador’s government that the documents were a “fabrication.” The same day, the documents posted by Buzzfeed were removed from document-sharing site Scribd.com due to a copyright claim by a small firm named Ares Rights, an anti-piracy outfit based in Spain.
This is not the first time that Ares Rights has worked at the apparent behest of Ecuador’s government — and possibly the government of Argentina — to attempt (and fail) to censor embarrassing media online.