Rights group sues UK over exports of spying tech

April 16, 2013 by Raphael Satter

A human rights group is suing the British government over the export of sophisticated surveillance technology that has been used to spy on dissidents in Bahrain and elsewhere.

Privacy International said Tuesday it had filed a lawsuit before London's High Court over the government's refusal to say whether it was investigating U.K.-based Gamma International, whose FinFisher software has been linked to use in more than two dozen countries, including Bahrain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

The export of Western to repressive regimes has drawn increasing attention in the wake of the pro-democracy uprisings in the Arab world that laid bare the high-tech methods used by domestic spying agencies to stifle dissent.

Privacy International argues that the export of FinFisher software may be illegal under U.K. law and has demanded that British officials investigate.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs authority has so far refused to say whether it has opened an inquiry into the matter. The agency said it could not comment on the lawsuit for legal reasons.

Explore further: Report finds online censorship more sophisticated


Related Stories

Global media watchdog names enemies of Internet

March 12, 2012

(AP) -- The Arab Spring is changing the face of Internet freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders, which released its latest "Enemies of the Internet" list Monday.

Toronto study shows mobile spyware's long shadow

September 1, 2012

(Phys.org)—Spyware sold legally can infect BlackBerrys, iPhones, and other mobile devices, according to a study from two security researchers at the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs' Citizen Lab. Morgan ...

Syria, China worst for online spying, RSF reports

March 12, 2013

Syria, China, Iran, Bahrain and Vietnam are flagrantly spying online, media watchdog RSF said Tuesday, urging controls on the export of Internet surveillance tools to regimes clamping down on dissent.

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.