Dear Ben, in the Pegasus Committee of Inquiry, you pointed out in the hearing 21 June that ten years earlier you had also spoken in the EU Parliament about a report on surveillance. What exactly was that about?
My previous report 10 years ago in 2012 to the EU Parliament DROI (the human rights subcommittee of the foreign affairs committee) was about the ways to deal with European technology supporting authoritarian states repress their citizens in the Middle East after the Arab Spring. We discussed many different policy responses to this challenge including export controls and ways that Europe can create different technological ecosystems.
Your reference to the 10-year-old EP study was probably made because of continuities with today. Where do you see these?
As I mentioned during the hearing, the unwillingness to sufficiently respond to the needs of surveillance victims outside of Europe, has contributed to a market for surveillance inside of Europe. In terms of continuity, there has been a high degree of turnover among the companies doing surveillance, so lots of change in the relevant actors. A high degree of the regulatory and oversight burden is taken on by civil society and journalists, which suggests much is still to be done by government actors.
More broadly speaking, many of the measures suggested then, investing in decentralised human-rights based communications infrastructure, robust oversight and meaningful accountability. There is still much work to be done.… Weiterlesen
In the hearing on 10 May, you referred to a lucrative market for trading vulnerabilities that manufacturers like NSO exploit. Who is involved in this?
In the commercial IT security sector, companies are now dealing in the knowledge of vulnerabilities and how to exploit them. What the buyers do with this knowledge or with the concrete exploits is only in some states subject to decided rules. Customers are primarily international secret services, their contractual partners, but also intermediaries or criminals, as well as law enforcement agencies and the military.
This grey market for vulnerabilities also includes some better-known companies like Exodus, Azimuth or Zerodium, which specialise in buying and selling exploits. They publish price lists for buying them up. Today, IT researchers can sell their knowledge to whoever pays the most.… Weiterlesen
Dear Mona, in the Committee of Inquiry to investigate the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware, you reported on 12 July that Palestinians are affected by numerous surveillance technologies. What are they, for example?
Palestinians are subjected to a multi-layered surveillance system. According to the Oslo accords, the Israeli authorities control the information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. This system impedes and deprives Palestinians of accessing a safe, affordable and high-quality Internet.
As for surveillance technologies, there is e.g. CCTV. Cameras are put to securitize and militarize the public urban places. Also, over the past two years, ground-breaking investigations and reports show other forms of how Israel is developing and testing its surveillance techniques on Palestinians, one of those initiatives is the system Blue Wolf, which was developed when the whole world was immersed in the fight against the pandemic. It started in Hebron, and was used all over the West Bank after that. It is a smart phone app powered by a massive database of Palestinians’ personal information. It draws from a larger database called the „Wolf Pack”, which seeks to profile every Palestinian living in the West Bank without consent or permit. Each profile contains photographs, a family history, and educational background, as well as a security rating. Earlier this year, a new report showed that Israeli soldiers are ordered to enter the photos and details of at least 50 Palestinians into the Israeli force’s „Blue Wolf“ tracking system over the course of each shift. Soldiers who fail to make the quota are forced to remain on duty until they do.… Weiterlesen
20th of July:
Exchange of Views with NSO
Hearing: Stocktaking of EU spyware providers