Yesterday, Monday March 28, 2022, Netzpolitik reported that notorious German spyware purveyor FinFisher shut down operations and filed for insolvency. The surveillance technology company has a long history of selling its products to authoritarian regimes that surveil human rights defenders and journalists.
Years of civil society advocacy led to FinFisher’s collapse.
“The people victimized by FinFisher’s illegal exports will find a measure of justice in this corporate downfall, which comes as a direct result of concerted action by civil society,” said Peter Micek, General Counsel at Access Now. “We encourage German authorities to seize and destroy FinFisher assets and data, compensate its victims, and trumpet the power of export controls and criminal prosecution to hook spyware peddlers where it hurts.”
FinFisher’s demise serves as a warning to other surveillance technology vendors, like the infamous NSO Group, that their days are numbered.
“FinFisher’s case shows why human rights should be at the front and center of any export control regime,” said Natalia Krapiva, Tech-Legal Counsel at Access Now. “We call on EU countries to ensure that the newly enacted dual use export control rules are applied even more robustly to companies that provide technologies for human rights abuses abroad.”