Detekt – First Tool to Detect Known Surveillance Spyware

Rafia Shaikh
Posted Nov 21, 2014
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Post-Snowden revelations, a visible shift toward tackling terrorism was felt among the journalism and activism communities. Unlike previously trusted, governments around the world were proved to be engaged in conducting mass surveillance on their own citizens without going through the judicial processes. Common citizens, activists, journalists, bloggers, and everyone for that matter was under the eye, as Snowden‘s leaked documents proved. Since the past year then, people from technology and civil society have tried to collaborate to not only push governments to better the laws and respect privacy of citizens, but also to create tools that could safeguard people from mass surveillance.

Detekt mass surveillance:

In this attempt, a first of its kind tool named Detekt has been launched. This tool is designed to enable journalists and human rights defenders to detect known surveillance spyware used by governments on their computers. Detekt has been released by Amnesty International, Digitale Gesellschaft, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Privacy International, and developed by security researcher Claudio Guarnieri.

 

With the palpable increase in trading of communication surveillance (reaching to an annual $5 billion), this tool will help dissidents and activists around the world to stay away from spying eyes. This year, an extensive research report by Citizen Lab discovered that a German based company, FinFisher, was selling an aggressively intrusive spyware to authoritarian countries around the world. The tool, as discovered by Citizen Lab, was used to arrest and harass activists in Arab world including Bahrain.

Governments are increasingly using dangerous and sophisticated technology that allows them to read activists and journalists’ private emails and remotely turn on their computer’s camera or microphone to secretly record their activities. They use the technology in a cowardly attempt to prevent abuses from being exposed. […] Detekt is a simple tool that will alert activists to such intrusions so they can take action. It represents a strike back against governments who are using information obtained through surveillance to arbitrarily detain, illegally arrest and even torture human rights defenders and journalists. – Marek Marczynski, Head of Military, Security and Police at Amnesty International.

– Source: Detekt

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