Israeli spyware: how to stop a product that threatens our rights

What is Spyware?

Spyware is a new technology of espionage. By exploiting design flaws in phones and in computers (known as “zero-day loopholes” – security flaws unknown to developers), private companies have adapted military intelligence technology to spy on civilians. They are selling this technology to governments, police forces, intelligence units and possibly to non-government organizations such as corporations.

Why is Israel in the center of it all?

Israel is headquarters to more spyware companies than any other country in the world5 including NICE (the spyware division of NICE was bought by Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms company), Verint, NSO Group, Black Cube, Candiru, Cytrox, Cellebrite and Intellexa. These companies all boast that their technology has been taken directly from the Israeli military, and that the founders of these companies are graduates of Israeli intelligence units “8200”6 , “81”7 , and the Mossad8 . This spyware technology was designed and tested as part of the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime in Palestine. It has been used to blackmail Palestinians into becoming collaborators. It has been used to sabotage the work of Palestinian civil society organizations who protect Palestinian human rights, and to silence attempts to hold Israeli security forces accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Palestinians.9

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