Monday, May 6, 2013

36 governments are now using sophisticated software to spy on their citizens. By Leo Mirani

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(QuartzA new report from Citizen Lab, a Canadian research center, shows surveillance software sold by FinFisher, a “governmental IT intrusion” company owned by the UK-registered Gamma International, is now active in 36 countries. That’s up from the 25 countries reported two months ago.

Gamma’s product, which it sells exclusively to governments, infects computers and mobile phones through devious means. These include posing as Mozilla Firefox and the (frankly quite elegant)...

[...] In the past, intelligence agencies have used the program to infiltrate “internet cafes in critical areas in order to monitor them for suspicious activity, especially Skype communication” and to target members of organized crime groups, according to a FinFisher brochure released by Wikileaks ...

[...] The business is necessarily discreet, but it’s still legitimate. The use of such software is legal in many countries. None of which makes a presentation called “Governmental IT Intrusion: Applied Hacking Techniques Used by Governments” any less creepy ... ► Read the full article by Leo Mirani in Quartz

Source: Quartz36 governments (including Canada’s) are now using sophisticated software to spy on their citizens
Author: Leo Mirani is a journalist and editor based in Mumbai, India. He has worked at The Economist, Time Out Mumbai and Tehelka. His writing has appeared in The Independent, The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, AFP and Elle India and he has earned datelines from places as far afield as Moscow, Nairobi and Valletta. His reporting interests include technology, data policy, media, South Asia and the European project ... more


  1. Check out this article:

    • Firefox maker says British surveillance company has hijacked its brand to help spy on targets

    By Associated Press│in The Washington Post

    LONDON — The maker of one of the Internet’s most popular browsers is taking on one of the world’s best-known purveyors of surveillance software, accusing a British company of hijacking the Mozilla brand to camouflage its espionage products.

    The Mozilla Foundation — responsible for the Firefox browser — said late Tuesday that Gamma International Ltd. was passing off its FinFisher spy software as a Firefox product to avoid detection. Mozilla described the tactic as abusive ...


  2. Check out this article:

    • Mozilla Takes Aim at Spyware That Masquerades as Firefox

    by Robert McMillan│in Wired

    Mozilla’s lawyers are sending a nasty gram to a U.K. company that writes spyware for government snoops.

    The problem is that FinSpy masquerades as FireFox on the PC, according to researchers at The Citizen Lab, a University of Toronto-backed project that investigates technology and human rights. That violates Mozilla’s trademark, the browser-maker said in a statement. “As an open source project trusted by hundreds of millions of people around the world, defending Mozilla’s trademarks from this abuse is vital to our brand, mission and continued success.”

    Mozilla says it’s sending the U.K. company that makes FinSpy, Gamma International, a cease-and-desist letter later today “demanding that these practices be stopped immediately.” Gamma International couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. FinFisher is the name of Gamma’s command and control server software that collects the surveillance data. It also makes FinSpy, the spyware that runs on the PC ...


  3. Check out this article:

    ► Did FBI Counterterrorism Agent Reveal That Feds Now Record All Phone Calls?

    from the er...-what? dept

    It's long been assumed (or hinted at very strongly by a variety of evidence) that the feds have been making and collecting copies of pretty much every digital communication available. A whistleblower from AT&T more or less revealed the details on that. The NSA's ability to collect all this data is well documented, and people are just now coming to terms with the legal loopholes used to justify this mass sweeping up of communications ...