Can a U.N. Report Help Rein in Expansive and Abusive Digital Surveillance?

Jailed human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor shows journalists a screenshot of a spoof text message he received when he was targeted by spyware that can hack into an iPhone, Ajman, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 25, 2016 (AP photo by Jon Gambrell).
Jailed human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor shows journalists a screenshot of a spoof text message he received when he was targeted by spyware that can hack into an iPhone, Ajman, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 25, 2016 (AP photo by Jon Gambrell).
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Earlier this year, Reuters broke a stunning story. It disclosed that intelligence services from the United Arab Emirates had hired ex-U.S. operatives from the National Security Agency to hack into the iPhones of Emirati citizens in order to access their personal phone numbers, emails, passwords and even follow their location. The operation, code-named “Project Raven,” was supposed to track Islamic State cells. But Reuters uncovered a much more sinister pattern of surveillance. Under the guise of national security, Raven contractors broke into the personal communications of scores of human rights activists, civil society leaders and investigative journalists, both in the […]

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