Tag: surveillance (page 1 of 9)

Assume that your devices are compromised

I was in Catalonia in 2017 during the independence referendum. The way that people were treated when trying to exercise democratic power I still believe to be shameful.

These days, I run the most secure version of an open operating system on my mobile device that I can. And yet I still need to assume it’s been compromised.

In Catalonia, more than sixty phones—owned by Catalan politicians, lawyers, and activists in Spain and across Europe—have been targeted using Pegasus. This is the largest forensically documented cluster of such attacks and infections on record. Among the victims are three members of the European Parliament, including Solé. Catalan politicians believe that the likely perpetrators of the hacking campaign are Spanish officials, and the Citizen Lab’s analysis suggests that the Spanish government has used Pegasus. A former NSO employee confirmed that the company has an account in Spain. (Government agencies did not respond to requests for comment.) The results of the Citizen Lab’s investigation are being disclosed for the first time in this article. I spoke with more than forty of the targeted individuals, and the conversations revealed an atmosphere of paranoia and mistrust. Solé said, “That kind of surveillance in democratic countries and democratic states—I mean, it’s unbelievable.”

[…]

[T]here is evidence that Pegasus is being used in at least forty-five countries, and it and similar tools have been purchased by law-enforcement agencies in the United States and across Europe. Cristin Flynn Goodwin, a Microsoft executive who has led the company’s efforts to fight spyware, told me, “The big, dirty secret is that governments are buying this stuff—not just authoritarian governments but all types of governments.”

[…]

The Citizen Lab’s researchers concluded that, on July 7, 2020, Pegasus was used to infect a device connected to the network at 10 Downing Street, the office of Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. A government official confirmed to me that the network was compromised, without specifying the spyware used. “When we found the No. 10 case, my jaw dropped,” John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the Citizen Lab, recalled. “We suspect this included the exfiltration of data,” Bill Marczak, another senior researcher there, added. The official told me that the National Cyber Security Centre, a branch of British intelligence, tested several phones at Downing Street, including Johnson’s. It was difficult to conduct a thorough search of phones—“It’s a bloody hard job,” the official said—and the agency was unable to locate the infected device. The nature of any data that may have been taken was never determined.

Source: How Democracies Spy On Their Citizens | The New Yorker

Spatial Finance

Using real-time satellite imagery to ensure that people are building (or not-building) what they say they’re going to.

‘Spatial finance’ is the integration of geospatial data and analysis into financial theory and practice. Earth observation and remote sensing combined with machine learning have the potential to transform the availability of information in our financial system. It will allow financial markets to better measure and manage climate-related risks, as well as a vast range of other factors that affect risk and return in different asset classes.

Source: Spatial Finance Initiative – Greening Finance and Investment

Health surveillance

It’s possible to be entirely in favour mass vaccination (as I am) while also concerned about the over-reach of states with our personal health data.

As this article discusses, based on a report from an German non-profit called AlgorithmWatch, such health surveillance is being normalised due to the requirements of responding to a global pandemic.

The idea that technology can be used to solve complex social issues, including public health, is not a new one. But the pandemic strongly influenced how technology is applied, with much of the push coming from public health policymaking and public perceptions, said the report.

The report also highlighted the growing divide between people who fervently defend the schemes and those who staunchly oppose them – and how fear and misinformation have influenced both sides.

Source: Pandemic Exploited To Normalise Mass Surveillance? | The ASEAN Post