A group of security and technology experts that fight for the respect of human rights experts have launched a new tool dubbed Detekt that allow the detection of the government surveillance malware on mobile devices and PCs. Amnesty in one the members of the Coalition Against Unlawful Surveillance Exports, the alliance that fights to avoid violation of human rights
“Governments are increasingly using dangerous and sophisticated technology that allows them to read activists’ and journalists’ private emails and remotely turn on their computer’s camera or microphone to secretly record their activities. They use the technology in a cowardly attempt to prevent abuses from being exposed. Detekt is a simple tool that will alert activists to such intrusions so they can take action.” Marek Marczynski, head of military, security and police at Amnesty, said:
Unfortunately, the massive surveillance technology is today sold by a growing number of companies. Surveillance is a profitable business, the Coalition Against Unlawful Surveillance Exports estimates the annual global trade in surveillance technologies is greater than £3bn and it is rapidly growing.
Private firms sell off-the-shelf equipment that allows intelligence agencies and law enforcement to spy on millions of emails and phone calls.
Government entities are increasingly using technology to intercept communications and monitor online activities of journalists, citizen-journalists and dissidents. This uncontrolled diffusion represents a serious threat to human rights and liberty of expression.
“Online surveillance is a growing danger for journalists, bloggers, citizen-journalists and human rights defenders. The Spyfiles that WikiLeaks released in 2012 showed the extent of the surveillance market, its worth (more than 5 billion dollars) and the sophistication of its products.” report states.
We must distinguish surveillance technology widely available on the internet from advanced technologies developed by private firms for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, both cases poses a serious menace to individuals living in countries that persistently commit human rights violations. The sale of these solutions must be regulated, the alliance invites an international call for action from national governments and regional institutions to avoid the abuse of the technologies.
“Governments need to begin regulating this trade by updating export laws, to encourage moral responsibility amongst private companies and to prevent their technologies from empowering dictatorships and oppressive regimes with powerful surveillance systems.” is reported in the website of the Coalition Against Unlawful Surveillance Exports.
Amnesty will promote Detekt among their activists around the world, let me remind you that the software is free and open-source.
“Detekt is a great tool which can help activists stay safe but ultimately the only way to prevent these technologies from being used to violate or abuse human rights is to establish and enforce strict controls on their use and trade.” said Marczynski. “It represents a strike back against governments who are using information obtained through surveillance to arbitrarily detain, illegally arrest and even torture human rights defenders and journalists.”
Amnesty will promote the new software, which is free and open-source, among their activists around the world.
(Security Affairs – Detekt , government surveillance)
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