Costa Rica: States must outlaw extremely intrusive spyware quickly 2023

Amnesty Tech Director Rasha Abdul Rahim said.

“The spyware crisis has massive implications for the future of human rights, and the time has come to move beyond simply putting a plaster over this pervasive and covert digital intrusion into peoples’ lives. Highly intrusive spyware must be banned worldwide immediately.

It’s a simple fact that highly invasive spyware poses a real danger to the privacy and security of everyone.

-Rasha Abdul Rahim, Amnesty Tech

“Unscrupulous spyware companies and phone weaponization must be stopped by governments worldwide. Highly intrusive malware threatens privacy and security for everyone.

Governments using very intrusive malware to stifle journalists, target activists, and squash dissent endanger countless lives. Now it’s illegal.”

Amnesty International’s Security Lab tracks and analyzes firms and governments that spread and abuse cyber-surveillance technologies that threaten human rights advocates, journalists, and civil society.

Its continuous investigations show the inexorable expansion of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, which has targeted heads of state, activists, and journalists in Spain, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. The list grows.

In March, President Biden signed an Executive Order banning the US government’s use of commercial spyware technologies. US and global governments must outlaw highly intrusive spyware.

Amnesty International describes “highly invasive spyware” as software that cannot be restricted or independently verified, like Pegasus. Amnesty International also recommends a global interim ban on spyware that may be controlled and independently inspected until a human rights protection mechanism is in place.

RightsCon Amnesty

Hackers, developers, data scientists, and engineers help Amnesty International prioritize individuals and human rights via technology. We look. We campaign. We alter policy. We seek justice. We check the mighty. We shape technology and human rights.

The Security Lab monitors and exposes new spyware corporations to safeguard civil society and billions of mobile devices. The Security Lab’s Mobile Verification Toolkit empowers civil society technologists who safeguard their communities from these risks.

Each year, RightsCon brings together activists, corporate executives, policymakers, engineers, and journalists from across the world to promote digital human rights. After three years of virtual meetings, the 12th edition will be a hybrid in San José, Costa Rica on June 5-8, 2023.

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