A new interactive online platform through Forensic architecture, supported by Amnesty International and the Citizen laboratory, maps for the first time the global spread of the famous spyware Pegasus, created by the cyber surveillance company NSO Group.
“Digital violence: how the NSO group enables state terror” documents digital attacks on human rights defenders around the world and shows the links between the “digital violence” of Pegasus spyware and the real world that harms lawyers, activists and other figures in civil society.
NSO Group is the worst of the worst in selling digital burglary tools to players who they are fully aware of are actively and aggressively violating the human rights of dissidents, opposition figures and journalists.
NSO Group is a major player in the shadow surveillance industry. The company’s Pegasus spyware has been used in some of the most insidious digital attacks against human rights defenders. When Pegasus is installed surreptitiously on a person’s phone, an attacker has full access to a phone’s messages, email, media, microphone, camera, calls, and contacts.
“Investigation reveals how the digital realm we inhabit has become the new frontier for human rights violations, a site of state surveillance and intimidation that allows physical violations in space real, “said Shourideh C. Molavi, forensic architecture researcher. -Load.
Edward Snowden tells a series of accompanying videos that tell the stories of human rights activists and journalists targeted by Pegasus. The interactive platform also includes sound design by composer Brian Eno. A movie on the project by award-winning director Laura Poitras will premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival later this month.
“NSO Group is the worst of the worst in selling digital burglary tools to players who they are fully aware of are actively and aggressively violating the human rights of dissidents, opposition figures and journalists,” said Edward Snowden, president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
The online platform is one of the most comprehensive databases on NSO-related activities, with information on export licenses, suspected purchases, digital infections and the physical targeting of activists after being targeted by spyware, including intimidation, harassment and detention. The platform also highlights the complex corporate structure of the NSO Group, based on new search by Amnesty International and its partners.
“For years, NSO Group hid its operations in secrecy and took advantage of working in the shadows. This platform highlights the important links between the use of its spyware and the devastating human rights violations inflicted on activists and civil society, ”said Danna Ingleton, Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech.
Amnesty International’s security laboratory and Citizen laboratory repeatedly exposed the use of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to target hundreds of human rights defenders around the world. Amnesty International calls on the NSO group to take urgent action to ensure that it does not cause or contribute to human rights violations, and to respond when they do occur. Cyber surveillance must exercise human rights due diligence and take steps to ensure that human rights defenders and journalists do not continue to become targets of illegal surveillance.
In October 2019, Amnesty International revealed that the phone of Moroccan academic and activist Maati Monjib had been infected with Pegasus spyware. He continues to be harassed by Moroccan authorities for his human rights work. In December 2020, Maati Monjib was arbitrarily detained before being released on parole on March 23, 2021.
Maati Monjib, tells her story in one of the short films, and spoke of the personal toll following the surveillance: “The authorities knew everything I said. I was in danger. Surveillance is very harmful to the psychological well-being of the victim. My life has changed a lot because of all of these pressures.
Amnesty International is calling for all charges against Maati to be dropped and for an end to the harassment against him and his family by the Moroccan authorities.
To find out more visit digitalviolence.org