The human cost of global spyware sales

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    This year a number of major news stories released information on world governments buying, selling and using surveillance technologies on their citizens. These stories, reports -- and in some cases, hacktivist breaches and data dumps -- have served to verify the acquisition and use of spyware on citizens by dozens of diverse governments around the globe.

    We sought to answer one question: Why is this a problem, exactly?

    To see how countries compare, we decided to focus on the client list of Italy's infamous spyware dealers, Hacking Team -- which was recently hacked and exposed for selling malware, intrusion services, and surveillance technologies to dozens of countries. That total is now around 50 countries.

    Click each shaded country for a concise summary of its current surveillance practices and its human rights status -- with the direct correlations between its use of these technologies and the day-to-day condition of its citizens.

    So now, when you see a country's name in a news story about malware, spyware, web filtering and monitoring, or other surveillance technologies, you can click on this map and see for yourself why this is a problem for the people who live there.

    The information in this report was culled from published papers by international human rights organizations and verified documents, primarily: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders, Privacy International, Global Information Society Watch, Freedom House, Open Democracy, and UN Watch. If you're interested in learning more you can browse our list of sources here.

    [Image credit: Shutterstock]

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    Ms. Violet Blue (tinynibbles.com, @violetblue) is the author of the book How To Be A Digital Revolutionary. She is a freelance investigative reporter on hacking and cybercrime, as well as a noted columnist. She is an advisor to Without My Consent, and a member of the Internet Press Guild. Ms. Blue has made regular appearances on CNN and The Oprah Winfrey Show and is frequently interviewed, quoted, and featured in a variety of outlets including BBC, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal. She has authored and edited award-winning, best-selling books in eight translations and was the San Francisco Chronicle's sex columnist. Her conference appearances include ETech, LeWeb, CCC, and the Forbes Brand Leadership Conference, plus two Google Tech Talks. The London Times named Blue one of “40 bloggers who really count.” Ms. Blue is the author of The Smart Girl's Guide to Privacy. Find out more about her work in writing, sexuality, security, and privacy on her Patreon.

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