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Report: Western Firms Help Central Asian States Spy On Citizens

A report by a privacy watchdog group says U.S. and Israeli companies have supplied Central Asian states with sophisticated surveillance technology that gives them extensive power to monitor the communications of government opponents and other citizens.

A summary of the report released on November 20 by London-based Privacy International says governments in the region use the surveillance gear "to spy on activists and journalists" in their countries and on exiles living abroad.

"Central Asia serves as a unique backdrop to the examination of the surveillance technology industry: it consists of some of the most authoritarian systems of governance in the world with repressive state authorities increasingly keen to clamp down on Internet and telecommunications freedoms," it says.

The report relies largely on confidential sources and documents, and includes accounts from activists, journalists, and exiles who say their private communications and Internet posts have been intercepted by the government.

With reporting by "The Washington Post"
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