The brochure in question dates from 2007, suggesting capabilities may have advanced even further since then — but Appelbaum left little doubt that he believes these tactics are still in use, and offered several instances in which he’s seen them in action. One case involved Julian Assange’s current home at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where visitors were surprised to receive welcome messages from a Ugandan telephone company. It turned out the messages were coming from a foreign base station device installed on the roof, masquerading as a cell tower for surveillance purposes. Appelbaum suspects the GCHQ simply forgot to reformat the device from an earlier Ugandan operation.
What’s interesting about this is not that GCHQ/NSA is running spying operations in Uganda, but that it was so passively reported as no big deal.