26. Oktober 2022

Big tech and spyware II (26 October)

  • Shane Huntley, Director of Google Threat Analysis Group
  • Jo De Muynck, Head of Operational Cooperation Unit at ENISA
  • Saad Kadhi, Head of CERT-EU
  • Rosanna Kurrer, Cyberwayfinder
24. Oktober 2022

Interview with Aminatou Haidar, Sahrawi human rights activist

Dear Aminatou, you are a non-violent advocate for the independence of Western Sahara, and for this you have received, among others, the alternative Nobel Prize. This is probably why you were attacked by the Pegasus spyware. What exactly happened? When was your phone infected?

I am a human rights defender in Western Sahara, and since my childhood I have been involved in the peaceful struggle for the independence of my country Western Sahara, and because of this I have suffered all kinds of atrocities from the Moroccan occupation authorities. I was a victim of enforced disappearance (from November 1987 to June 1991), torture and arbitrary detention. I was fired from my job in 2005 and expelled from my country in November 2009 and sent back, against my will and without passport, on a plane to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. My children were not spared from the repressive Moroccan policy.

As a gesture of recognition of the justness of the cause of my people, the Saharawi People, and to encourage me to continue my peaceful struggle for their legitimate rights, several international NGOs and state bodies have awarded me several human rights prizes… the last prize was the Alternative Nobel Prize 2019 awarded by the Right Livelihood Foundation.

As for your question, I assure you that I have been under surveillance by the Moroccan secret intelligence services since my release in June 1991, and because of the circumstances of my Saheawi patriotic activism in which I have been involved since my youth, I have always been careful with my telephone communications, my emails and the information I share in public. The same information has always been used by Morocco to limit my freedoms to the maximum and subsequently perpetrate serious violations against my person.… Weiterlesen

24. Oktober 2022

Pegasus Inquiry: Delegation from The Left in Spain to gather evidence

Greece, Hungary, Poland and Spain: EU member states all accused of using Pegasus spyware against citizens, journalists and members of opposition parties. Where they differ, is the level of scrutiny they are under from the European Parliament.

The Pegasus Committee of the European Parliament has organised or is organising fact-finding missions in these member states – with the exception of Spain. This was ruled out by other members of the committee, despite revelations of hacking in both Madrid and Barcelona.

On Monday 24 October, a delegation from The Left in the European Parliament is traveling to Spain for a mission to investigate the use of spyware. Evidence gathered will feed into the committee’s overall inquiry. … Weiterlesen

20. Oktober 2022

Event on the Committee of Inquiry in Berlin: The use of the Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware

Friday, 2 December 2022
12.00-14.45 CEST
Grüner Salon, Volksbühne
Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin
Metro U2

Livestream at YouTube (english)

Outlaw government spyware!

Under the pretext of fighting serious crime and terrorism, a worldwide industry for mercenary spyware has emerged. Governments all over the world, including Member States of the European Union, use it to spy on journalists, opposition politicians, critical prosecutors, lawyers and civil society actors. This became known among other things with Pegasus from the Israeli company NSO Group.

Such espionage likely violates Union law. There is a lack of supervision and control of surveillance technologies, which deeply interfere with democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The European Parliament decided to set up a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware.

After many hearings, delegations and meetings, the work of the Inquiry Committee will end in the spring of 2023, but the work on the final report is already ongoing. As members of the Inquiry the aim is to make this process as transparent as possible and to be in a constant dialogue with victims and civil society about the regulation of and/or banning of surveillance technologies.… Weiterlesen

6. Oktober 2022

Exchange with Members who have been targeted by spyware (6 October)

  • Diana Riba i Giner (Greens/EFA, ES)
  • Jordi Solé (Greens/EFA, ES)
  • Antoni Comín i Oliveres (NI, ES)
  • Carles Puigdemont (NI, ES)
  • Nikos Androulakis (S&D, EL)
21. September 2022

Mission to Poland (19-21 September)

19 September:

  • 14:30-16:00: Polish Senate extraordinary Committee on Pegasus, meeting with Marcin Bosacki, Chairman of the Senate extraordinary Committee and committee members
  • 16:30 – 18:00 Meeting with Members of the Sejm with the Civic Coalition Club and the Left Coalition Club

20 September:

  • 8:30-10:00: Poland’s Supreme Audit Office, meeting with Janusz Pawelczyk and Marcin Marjański, advisors to President Marian Banaś
  • 10:30-12:00: Meeting with General Piotr Pytel
  • 13:30-15:00: Meeting with victims: Andrzej Malinowski, former president of the Employers of Poland organization; Krzysztof Brejza, chief of staff in the election campaign in 2019; Michał Kołodziejczak, political activist; Ewa Wrzosek, Prosecutor.
  • 15:15-16:45: Ombudsman, meeting with Valeri Vachev, Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights and Mirosław Wróblewski, Director of Constitutional, International and European Law Department
  • 17:00-18:30: Meeting with Judges Piotr Gąciarek, Dariusz Mazur, Krystian Markiewicz, Katarzyna Kwiatkowska on the judicial oversight of the use of Pegasus and similar spyware by state authorities.

21 September:

  • 08:00- 9:30: Meeting with experts on security services: Piotr Niemczyk, former director in Office of State Protection; Jacek Mąka, former colonel and former deputy Chief of Counterintelligence Service; Józef Polikowski, Stratpoints foundation.
  • 9:45- 11:15: Meeting with authors of the study „How to saddle Pegasus“: Jacek Cichocki, former Special Services Coordinator; Adam Rapacki, retired Police General; Wojciech Klicki, the Panoptykon Foundation.
  • 11:30-13:00: Meeting with civil society/human rights defenders/journalists: Ewa Siedlecka, journalist at Polityka; Marcin Wolny, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights; Sylwia Czubkowska, Spidersweb.

The MPs also wanted to meet with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice, but this was refused.… Weiterlesen

15. September 2022

Use of Spyware in Poland (15 September)

Panel 1

  • Ewa Wrzosek, prosecutor (victim)
  • Roman Giertych, former vice-prime minister and lawyer (victim)

Panel 2

  • Anna Błaszczak, Director Amnesty International Poland
  • Professor Adam Bodnar, Lawyer and former Ombudsman for Citizen Rights of Poland
8. September 2022

The use of spyware in Greece (8 September 2022)

Panel 1

Panel 2

  • Athanasios Staveris, Secretary General of Telecoms and Post, Greek Ministry of Digital Governance
  • Panos Alexandris, Secretary General of Justice & Human Rights, Greek Ministry of Justice
  • Christos Rammos, President, The Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE)

Thanasis Koukakis explains his two bugging cases in Greek. First, the Financial Times reported how the newspaper’s journalist Kerin Hope was wiretapped. In 2019, the government had changed the penal code so that prosecution of a crime does not immediately follow when financial crimes are discovered, Koukakis and others had been reporting on, and subsequently uncovering further misconduct. In July 2020, after he became suspicious, he was finally informed that the Greek secret service was intercepting him, and in August he received a transcript of his intercepted conversations. He made the request to the competent independent authority; the day after, the wiretapping was immediately stopped. Subsequently, the government introduced a bill that this agency may no longer inform those affected, such as Koukakis, upon their request; the bill passed.

On 12 July 2021, he received a manipulated link to a business website, as a result of which his mobile phone was infected with the Predator Trojan, as confirmed by Citizen Lab. The government initially denied that they were using Predator at all. Koukakis worked for the French news agency AFP, among others, which is why the government in Paris asked Athens for details after the espionage was discovered. Athens, however, denied the wiretapping measures. It is thanks to the EP PEGA committee that the matter made waves in the first place, and Koukakis is not an isolated case, as MEP Nikos Androulakis was also intercepted accordingly. Koukakis has … Weiterlesen

30. August 2022

Interview with Edin Omanovic (Privacy International)

The different types of surveillance technologies need to be regulated differently, you said in the hearing 21 June, but how specifically is that going to be implemented?

While the European Parliament’s inquiry was spurred by revelations concerning the use of Pegasus spyware, for its final report to have a substantial impact it’s important that it addresses the full scope of technologies that are on the market. This includes spyware used to target devices similar to Pegasus, but also concerns technology for things like intercepting mobile communications, tapping phone networks, conducting forensics on devices, monitoring internet traffic at a network level, conducting facial recognition, or tracking people’s location; all of these can present clear threats to the privacy and other rights of people around the world similar to Pegasus, including in Europe.

There is no one law that can begin to regulate this full spectrum because of the different ways they work and the different threats they pose; while some techniques like the use of mass, untargeted surveillance or live facial recognition in public spaces present such grave risks that it calls for a ban, others like systems that tap specific conversations could be lawful if there are sufficient protections in place. And while some could be better regulated through things like technical standards, codes of conduct, or export restrictions, others can not.

The principles of international law are still the best guide we have for determining what should and shouldn’t be acceptable in a democracy and what kind of protections need to be in place. Privacy International also has a guide on interpreting the many judgments, resolutions, and reports on international law and surveillance, available here, and a study on the protections that would be required for the lawful use of spyware of the type sold by NSO … Weiterlesen