For our audience that are particularly interested in privacy issues, you should read the Predator Files, a new investigation by Amnesty International that exposes the global threat from spyware developed and sold by the Intellexa alliance, a group of surveillance companies based in the EU and other countries. This report reveals how the Intellexa alliance offers a suite of highly invasive and indiscriminate surveillance technologies, such as mobile spyware, network injection, and Wi-Fi interception, to governments around the world with a high risk of human rights abuse. These technologies can be used to monitor, track, and harass anyone who dares to speak out against corruption, injustice, or oppression.

One of the astounding findings of the report is that Amnesty International’s Security Lab uncovered a targeted spyware operation using Intellexa’s Predator spyware targeting at least 50 social media accounts belonging to journalists,

activists, politicians, and officials in Europe and Asia between February and June 2023. The Predator spyware can infect a device by sending a malicious link via a social media message or email. Once installed, it can access the device’s camera, microphone, location, contacts, messages, and more.

The report also details a history of human rights abuses linked to the Intellexa alliance in Greece, Libya, and Egypt. For example, in 2019, the Greek government used Intellexa’s network injection technology to intercept and redirect internet traffic of thousands of asylum seekers and migrants to a fake website that collected their personal information. In 2020, the Libyan government used Intellexa’s Wi-Fi interception technology to spy on hundreds of human rights defenders, journalists, and political opponents in Tripoli. In 2021, the Egyptian government used Intellexa’s mobile spyware to target dozens of lawyers, activists, and journalists who were involved in anti-government protests.

The report also shows how the Intellexa alliance uses complex and opaque corporate structures to evade accountability, transparency, and regulation. The alliance consists of several companies that operate under different names and jurisdictions, making it difficult to trace their ownership, activities, and clients. The alliance also exploits legal loopholes and weak export controls to sell their products to countries that have poor human rights records or are under sanctions.

The report calls for a ban on the use of highly invasive spyware, which is incompatible with human rights. It also urges states to implement a human rights regulatory framework for surveillance and to require surveillance companies to conduct human rights due diligence. It also recommends specific actions for the EU and its member states, the government of Vietnam, and the Intellexa alliance.

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