• Kyodo

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Italian surveillance software developer Hacking Team tried to sell its products at an event in Tokyo last October, exhibition sources confirmed Monday.

Hacking Team exhibited its products at the Special Equipment Exhibition & Conference for Anti-Terrorism, which was held between Oct. 15 and 17 at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward.

The National Police Agency and the Justice Ministry’s Public Security Intelligence Agency were among the sponsors of the event.

A set of internal Hacking Team documents recently disclosed by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks included emails between the Milan-based firm and a Public Security Intelligence Agency official who visited the company’s booth at the event.

The official was interested in the firm’s Remote Control System software, which can be used to access personal information in computers and smartphones.

South Korea’s intelligence agency, after being grilled by opposition lawmakers, acknowledged that it purchased the firm’s hacking software in 2012. The agency said the software was intended to be used in preparation for a cyberwar against North Korea, but critics say it might have been used to spy on South Korean citizens.

In July, WikiLeaks released a list of buyers of Hacking Team’s software in 35 countries, which did not include Japan. A number of countries with dubious human rights records were among those suspected of using the company’s software.

A Hacking Team official visited Japan in late April and met with more than 20 officials at the Public Security Intelligence Agency. The Italian company told Japanese participants that its software would help Japan find youths trying to join the Islamic State militant group.

The agency declined to comment, saying only that the origin of the documents uncovered by WikiLeaks remains unclear.

A public relations official at Hacking Team said the software developer sells its products only to government organizations and does not identify buyers.

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