Amnesty International has issued a warning against the sale of spyware, one year after the Pegasus Project findings were made public. The human rights organization highlights the lack of a global ban on the sale of spyware, which has allowed the surveillance industry to flourish unabated.
According to a database compiled by researchers at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, governments in at least 75 countries, or nearly 40 per cent of all nations worldwide, have acquired commercial spyware in the last decade. Rival companies such as the Hacking Team and FinFisher have marketed spyware and services similar to Pegasus. Furthermore, the revolving door between veterans of Israel’s military and intelligence branches and its domestic tech sector generates new surveillance start-ups on a regular basis.
Cognyte, which claims to be the market leader in investigative analytics software, secured a deal to supply spyware to Myanmar’s state-backed telecommunications firm a month before the current military junta launched its coup in February 2021.
The use of spyware has a chilling effect on press freedoms and civil society around the world, expanding the scope of authoritarian efforts to impose transnational repression. The proliferation of these technologies, as well as the demand for them from both government and non-government clients, has resulted in a mercenary spyware industry worth an estimated US$12 billion per year.
The sources for this piece include an article in CigiOnline.