A bleak outlook: How electronic surveillance is thriving on a global scale

They also argue that many companies marketing internationally, especially to NATO opponents, are “irresponsible publishers” and deserve more attention from policy makers.

These companies include the Israeli company Cellebrite, which develops hacking and forensic tools for phones, which sells worldwide to countries including the United States, Russia and China. The company has already faced a major setback for its role during this, for example China campaign in Hong Kong and the discovery that its technology was used by Bangladeshis.”death squad.

“When these companies begin selling their wares to both NATO members and their adversaries, this should raise national security concerns by all customers,” the report says.

Trade is becoming increasingly global, according to the report, with 75% of companies selling online surveillance and hacking products outside their home continent. Lead author Winona Desombre, a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber ​​Statecraft Initiative, says such sales point to potential censorship problems.

“There does not seem to be a desire to self-regulate for the majority of these companies,” she says.

By classifying such companies as an “irresponsible publisher,” DeSombre hopes to encourage lawmakers around the world to target certain companies for further regulation.

“When these companies start selling their wares to both NATO members and their adversaries, this should raise national security concerns by all customers.”

Governments have recently taken steps towards some form of control. The The European Union has adopted stricter rules on surveillance technology last year, with the goal of increasing industry transparency. During the past month, the United States enacted More stringent New licensing rules for selling hack tools. The infamous Israeli spyware company NSO Group was one of several companies added to a US blacklist over allegations that spyware it provided to foreign governments was then used to maliciously target government officials, journalists, businessmen, activists, academics and embassy staff. NSO has consistently denied any wrongdoing argue It rigorously investigates abuse and shuts down offending customers.

However, one of the report’s authors says it is important to realize the true scale of what is happening.

“The most important thing to take away from this paper is that we are dealing with an industry,” says Johan Ole Willers, Fellow at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Center for Cyber ​​Security Studies. “This is a basic idea. It is not enough to target the NSO group.”

UN warning

United Nations human rights experts recently raised Warning About what he called the “increasing use of mercenaries in cyberspace”.

“It is undeniable that cyber activities have the potential to cause abuses in both armed conflict and peacetime, thus engaging a whole variety of rights,” said Jelena Abarak, chair of the UN Working Group on the issue. Permit. The group called on international lawmakers to regulate the industry more effectively in order to protect “the right to life, socio-economic rights, freedom of expression, privacy and the right to self-determination”.

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