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The Fight To Uncover Spyware Exports To Repressive Regimes 36

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the virtual-arms-deals dept.
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes with news that we may soon learn which countries were sold the FinFisher malware package to spy on their own citizens. "The UK's High Court ruled yesterday that HM Revenue and Customs acted 'unlawfully' when it declined to detail how it was investigating the export of digital spy tools created by a British company. Human rights group Privacy International is celebrating the decision of Mr. Justice Green, which means HMRC now has to reconsider releasing information on its investigation into controls surrounding the export of malware known as FinFisher, created by British supplier Gamma International. The widespread FinFisher malware family, also known as FinSpy, can carry out a range of surveillance operations, from snooping on Skype and Facebook conversations to siphoning off emails or files sitting on a device. It is supposed to benefit law enforcement in their investigations, but has allegedly been found in various nations with poor human rights records, including Bahrain and Ethiopia."
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The Fight To Uncover Spyware Exports To Repressive Regimes

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  • It is supposed to benefit law enforcement in their investigations, but has allegedly been found in various nations with poor human rights records, including Bahrain and Ethiopia.

    So is it only a problem when repressive regimes use surveillance software to oppress their population? When first world nations use such software, they're also violating the rights of their citizens. Just because it "benefits law enforcement" doesn't excuse its existence. Parallel construction also benefits law enforcement.

    • Exactly, total double standard. The difference between the two is only a slight matter of degree. And this is the country that created today's GCHQ that's expressing such outrage?

    • by "repressive regimes" they meant all of them.

  • Many here consider the UK an oppressive regime

  • Britain and to a larger extent the United States both work hard to prop up repressive regimes they find benefitial to their interests. Somalia, Libya, hell even North Korea has received funds from the british taxpayer since 2012. To think that anyone in parliament gives two shits about some spyware is sadly wrong.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new... [dailymail.co.uk]
  • Spyware such as FinFisher is a weapon and should be treated as such under the same export restrictions most western countries apply to guns, warplanes, ships, etc. The trick would be in differentiating the covert tracking, surveillance and reporting that something like FinFisher does for nefarious purposes from the "normal" covert tracking, surveillance and reporting that many smart phone apps do for commercial purposes.

    Cheers,
    Dave

    • by causality (777677)

      The trick would be in differentiating the covert tracking, surveillance and reporting that something like FinFisher does for nefarious purposes from the "normal" covert tracking, surveillance and reporting that many smart phone apps do for commercial purposes.

      That trick is at least as unnecessary as it is difficult.

  • Why don't Facebook and Skype (Microsoft) take these companies to court? Why won't the UK government?
    These companies are making money off of a tool specifically made to break the law and most likely used to spy on some British citizens (abroad).

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb

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