Since 2014, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been representing "Mr Kidane," an Ethiopian-born US citizen whose computer the Ethiopian government hacked while he was living in DC, in order to extract the identities of his contacts in Ethiopia and target them for violent human-rights-abusing reprisals over their democratic opposition to the country's ruling dictatorship.
The Ethiopian government doesn't deny that it hacked Mr Kidane using Finspy, a commercial law-enforcement tool sold by western companies to repressive governments around the world (Ethiopia doesn't have a very sophisticated domestic IT capacity, but it has purchased mass surveillance technology on the open market, making it "the world's first turnkey surveillance state").
EFF has filed a new brief in the case, asking the court to reject this theory.
If a foreign state’s agent had placed a recording device in Mr. Kidane’s home or on his telephone line, Mr. Kidane could indisputably sue the government in U.S. courts, said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Nate Cardozo. The fact that Ethiopia used software instead of a person to launch a wiretap attack against Kidane in no way allows the country to evade legal liability.
“Today, all governments have to do to illegally spy on people is purchase the right software,’’ said Cardozo. “The D.C. Circuit should recognize that the malware in this case took the place of a human spy, and reinstate Mr. Kidane’s lawsuit.”
“Giving Ethiopia immunity for state-sponsored hacking would strip away one of the few protections Americans have against cyberattacks by foreign powers,” said Scott Gilmore, counsel at Guernica 37. “The invasion of our client’s home, through his computer, could happen to any of us. We all should have the right to seek justice.”
EFF: American Illegally Wiretapped at Home by Ethiopian Government Deserves His Day in Court
Attentive reader will note that rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously) published the laws of Georgia -- including the paywalled annotations to the state laws -- in 2015, prompting the state to sue him and literally call him a terrorist; Malamud countersued in 2015 and won a huge victory in 2018, when the US Court of […]
In 2017, a 28-year-old law student named Lina Kahn turned the antitrust world on its ear with her Yale Law Review paper, Amazon's Antitrust Paradox, which showed how Ronald Reagan's antitrust policies, inspired by ideological extremists at the University of Chicago's economics department, had created a space for abusive monopolists who could crush innovation, workers' […]
Ola Bini is a Swedish free/open source software developer who lives in Quito, Ecudaor; as he prepared to depart for a long-planned (and previously publicly announced) vacation in Japan, he was seized by Ecuadorean police, who claimed he was fleeing the country after the arrest of Julian Assange; authorities had a warrant for a "Russian […]
From your apartment door to your bike lock, it’s not uncommon to carry a number of different keys on your keyring, but that doesn’t make it any more bearable when you’re fussing to find the right one or deal with the infamous pocket bulge. The KeySmart Pro’s smart design cuts down on key clutter and […]
Happy DNA Day! April 25 is a day to recognize deoxyribonucleic acid – better known as the molecule that holds the code to our entire genetic makeup. What better way to celebrate than with a complete ancestry test that’s about more than just satisfying idle curiosity about your family tree? The lab techs at Vitagene use […]
For musicians, clubgoers or anyone in the thick of a loud environment, earplugs aren’t just an option. If you plan on keeping your hearing through sustained exposure to levels over 85 decibels (roughly the sound of a blender), they’re a must. The good news is, most earplugs will muffle the sound. The bad news is, […]