Meet the western technology companies who sell network snooping technology to torturing dictators

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has begun to publish a series of informative corporate biographies of technology companies that make network spying equipment and sell it to torturing dictators like Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Qaddafi. These companies' publish sales material advertising their use of tools created for the express purpose of breaking domestic and international law, and operate from countries like the UK (FinFisher) and France (Amesys). EFF urges prosecutors in these countries to investigate the spyware companies for complicity in human rights abuses.

The Wall Street Journal has since reported about FinFisher’s techniques and its technology’s dangerous capabilities. It works much the same way online criminals steal banking and credit card information. Authorities can covertly install malicious malware on a user’s computer without their knowledge by tricking the user into downloading fake updates to programs like iTunes and Adobe Flash. Once installed, they can see everything the user can. The FinFisher products can even remotely turn on the user’s webcam or microphone in a cell phone without the user’s knowledge.

FinFisher doesn’t pretend to market their products for solely lawful use. In 2007, they bragged that they use and incorporate “black hat (illegal and malicious) hacking techniques to allow intelligence services to acquire information that would be very difficult to obtain legally,” according to a report by OWNI.

Spy Tech Companies & Their Authoritarian Customers, Part I: FinFisher And Amesys


    1.  Seriously, I’m sure it will be if it isn’t already.

      Also, I’d love to see a similar outing of all the U.S./European companies that supply these guys with military/police equipment.  F/e that U.S. company that supplied Mubarak with tear gas/weapons etc.

  1. It seems reasonable that their rent for being allowed to operate in a country is to supply the local spooks with their software or the product of that software (if the spooks wish to remain at arms length)

  2. Funny how RIM caved to Saudi Arabia, allowing the government to read all encrypted BlackBerry traffic, and yet… some people think that the difference between RIM and FinFisher is like the difference between white and black. And somehow RIM and Time Magazine somehow think that critics of RIM are idiots.

    I may be an idiot, but this isn’t the reason why.

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