Five Tweets that show the scope of Hacking Team’s impact on human rights

Three years ago, Citizen Lab released a report that gives details about how surveillance technology is sold to repressive regimes around the world. The report identified several firms that sell this technology, including Gamma International and Hacking Team. This week we learned even more about the way these firms operate when a hacker copied and leaked some 400 gigabytes of data from Hacking Team. As detailed in an article published by The Intercept, the Italy-based company’s Remote Control System (RCS) can infect a target’s computer or phone, steal files, read emails, take photos, and record conversations.

Here are five Tweets that reveal the scope of Hacking Team’s impact on human rights:

1. Hacking Team was aware that civil society groups might question its activities, and who would be the targets for its intrusion software for governments.

2. The company trained a major public official in Vietnam, where bloggers are jailed more frequently than many other places in the world, on how to use its products.


3. The government of Ethiopia complained that it had lost its ability to track its targets, which include bloggers and journalists.


4. Pressure by human rights groups significantly impacted Hacking Team’s operations in Ethiopia and around the world, yet the company nevertheless reinstated Ethiopia’s contract.

5. UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye quickly explained what the Hacking Team leaks mean to civil society groups. Civil society groups are especially vulnerable to targeting by firms like Hacking Team. Anonymity and encryption are vital to protect users at risk against repressive regimes.


You can find out more about how you can protect yourself against intrusion software like Hacking Team’s Remote Control System in our post here. If you want to stay in the loop about Hacking Team and other developments in human rights online, follow us on Twitter.