Categories: Tech

Bachelet: Misuse Of Spyware Affects Human Rights | Voice Of America

GENEVA – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, issued a warning about the misuse of surveillance technology in the wake of reports that spyware was used to hack the smartphones of human rights activists, executives of companies and journalists. It is not yet clear to what extent the Pegasus spyware developed and sold by the Israeli company NSO Group has been used to spy on journalists, human rights defenders, opposition politicians and others. But Bachelet finds that the revelations that the phones of some 50,000 people were hacked are extremely alarming. The former Chilean president believes that the illegitimate use of these tools could undermine people’s human rights and subvert democratic societies. The High Commissioner’s spokesman, Rupert Colville, called the information tremendously disturbing, noting that it may just be the tip of the iceberg. He stressed to the Voice of America that the people whose phones were hacked are not terrorists or criminals of the Islamic State. He recalled that they are journalists, human rights activists and other people involved in legitimate activities. “It is very scary. The potential is very severe and I think it’s a wake-up call to all of us that we have to do something about it. We need to find some way to control this. Putting this genie back in the bottle because it is potentially very intrusive and very dangerous in some cases for many of us, ”Colville said. Pegasus: The keys to spying on more than 50,000 journalists, activists and government critics A report published by several international media revealed the operation of Pegasus, a malware designed and developed by the NSO Group, to spy on cell phones. In a statement, Bachelet expressed doubts about the use of these deeply intrusive surveillance tools. He said actions like this can only be justified in cases of investigations for serious crimes and serious threats to security. He opined that if the recent allegations of spyware use are partially true, then that red line has been crossed time and again with impunity. Colville said surveillance tools have reportedly been used to arrest, intimidate and even kill journalists and human rights defenders. He warned that the potential for abuse of Pegasus software is huge and very dangerous. “You can get people who are simply spying on any politician, any type of opposition to stay in power. And that, of course, is perhaps the most alarming thing in general. It can be used to subvert democracy, to subvert all kinds of human rights: freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, the right to privacy and, in extreme cases, the right to life, ”Colville said. Bachelet claimed that companies that develop and distribute surveillance technologies are responsible for preventing harm to human rights. He said they must take immediate steps to mitigate and remedy the damage caused by their products. Bachelet considered that countries should enact laws so that companies are legally responsible for the illegitimate use of their technology. He added that measures must be urgently implemented to better regulate the sale, transfer and use of surveillance technology to ensure that it complies with human rights laws. Connect with the Voice of America! Subscribe to our YouTube channel and activate notifications; or, follow us on social networks: Facebook, Twitter

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