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Using Texts as Lures, Government Spyware Targets Mexican Journalists and Their Families ( 54

Mexico's most prominent human rights lawyers, journalists and anti-corruption activists have been targeted by advanced spyware sold to the Mexican government on the condition that it be used only to investigate criminals and terrorists, reports the New York Times. From the report: The targets include lawyers looking into the mass disappearance of 43 students (alternative source), a highly respected academic who helped write anti-corruption legislation, two of Mexico's most influential journalists and an American representing victims of sexual abuse by the police. The spying even swept up family members, including a teenage boy. Since 2011, at least three Mexican federal agencies have purchased about $80 million worth of spyware created by an Israeli cyberarms manufacturer. The software, known as Pegasus, infiltrates smartphones to monitor every detail of a person's cellular life -- calls, texts, email, contacts and calendars. It can even use the microphone and camera on phones for surveillance, turning a target's smartphone into a personal bug.
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Using Texts as Lures, Government Spyware Targets Mexican Journalists and Their Families

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  • Just as with the US government, the Mexicant government cannot be trusted... Even worse they actively help the cartels hunt down anybody that tries to expose the ties between the government and the cartels and the profit that both are making on the backs of the plebs.

    • Re:Mexicants (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tgrigsby ( 164308 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @12:56PM (#54648439) Homepage Journal

      ...advanced spyware sold to the Mexican government on the condition that it be used only to investigate criminals and terrorists...

      Obligatory "what could go wrong" post....

      • by green1 ( 322787 )

        The nice thing about such a condition is that it's very easy for any government to classify anyone they don't like in to one of those groups.

    • Oddly, some folks want to provide more and more power to the state to protect them. Even more oddly, in the USA, it was not until the Federal Government began assuming all this extra authority that ebil corporation started taking every step they could to subvert the powerful governments we created.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, 2017 @12:54PM (#54648429)

    You can gauge the quality of a government by their inclination to equate people who criticise the regime with terrorists.

    Case in point: Turkey.

    It's disappointing to see this behaviour by the Mexican state.

    • by sycodon ( 149926 )

      But not unexpected.

      Mexico is a Third World Nation in every sense of the phrase.

    • I'm really surprised our president and the mexican president don't get along better.
  • Wow, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @01:06PM (#54648517)
    We seem to be having a world government trend with attacking reporters who expose their nations problems. The US, the UK are also attacking reporters. It's creepy who many nations are using Chinese/Russian style tactics to control the contents of reporters.The question is, when is the public going to take the governments to task for this sort or behaviour.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    This pattern is repeated endlessly against anyone who has rocked any political boats or embarrassed anyone in power. There's been directed surveillance against the Standing Rock protestors [], for example, and so on all across the world in any kind of political situations.

    We need better opsec education. When protesters use Facebook to coordinate, they have to understand every single thing they say or do is under surveillance... so avoid Facebook and anything like it for coordination. We need people to under

    • There is cause for that surveillance however as it stands to reason that protesters might be tempted to perform industrial sabotage on the pipeline. In fact someone has already sabotaged the pipeline lending even more cause to the reasoning. And as the consequences of it failing with all that Oil are great, they need to take measures to safeguard the integrity of the pipeline to prevent an ecological disaster*.

      *The issue of it's inherit danger to the environment not withstanding.

      • In fact someone has already sabotaged the pipeline lending even more cause to the reasoning.

        Any indication that it was an actual protester?

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @01:17PM (#54648573)

    I hope this dystopia was everything you hoped it would be because it sure does suck for humans!

  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @02:17PM (#54649037) Homepage

    The appropriate and usual US sanction for violations of ITAR/USML/EAR regulations and conditions is listing of the offenders in the US Federal Register as "Denied Parties". This forbids any US entity/subsidiary from any dealings or "facilitation" of their transactions. Nastier than it sounds -- what it doesn't freeze outright, it costs at least 10% more to skirt.

    Wall whining or not, what do you want to bet the US DoC/DoJ does no such thing? For one thing, hypocrisy is already pegged.

  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock.poetic@com> on Monday June 19, 2017 @03:43PM (#54649705)

    "Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights reports over 120 journalists have been killed since 2000"
    You can learn more about atrocities in Mexico at: []

    The problem seems to be that they don't honor the secret code that pervades US journalism: Don't offend those in power. Whether they be advertisers, government, powerful corporations or individuals, etc. Mexican journalists have been heroic in reporting despite the grave danger they face. We need that courage everywhere.

  • I've been complaining for several years now that our spyware, used for terrorism and mundane criminality, i.e. small things, will be used or cloned by despots to keep billions around the world down.

    Hooray for our police! Buying a few solved crimes and some dozens of deaths at the hands of enslaving billions around the world!

    I just had no idea ae would be participating directly.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Monday June 19, 2017 @04:02PM (#54649837)

    Text some stuff that pisses of the gov't. Meeting to be held at Location X. Then text some stuff that pisses off the local cartels. Meeting to be held at Location X. Sit back with popcorn and watch the firefight.

  • Yup, cellphones constantly spy on everyone, and the government officials in charge of that spying are totally corrupt. Anyone who doesn't enthusiastically support predatory capitalism is a terwawrist.

    In other news, the Pope is Catholic, and water is wet.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein