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Saturday, 7 August, 2021 - 14:32

State surveillance of citizens extends far beyond Pegasus spyware, the software developed by the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group. There is a multi-million-pound global market in which companies compete to profit from helping states to illegally spy on their own citizens.

 

Rightly there has been shock and outrage globally as citizens learn that their governments are buying Israeli malware to hack the mobile phones of political opponents, judges and journalists. But the revelations have not come as a surprise to the members of the African Digital Rights Network (ADRN), who earlier this year discovered disturbing examples of surveillance technologies being used by the state against its citizens in every one of the ten countries in Africa we studied.

 

Citizens in every country are guaranteed the right to private communication in their constitutions, domestic laws, and in international conventions that their government has signed up to. The use of bulk interception and mass surveillance technologies, scanning mobile phone messages, hacking encrypted communications, and intercepting internet traffic in attempts to close down civic space and suppress opposition, is a clear breach of these rights. Yet, governments routinely sign...