“A growing number of governments around the world, including the UK, are embracing hacking to facilitate their surveillance activities. Yet hacking presents unique and grave threats to our privacy and security. It is far more intrusive than any other surveillance technique, capable of accessing information sufficient to build a detailed profile of a person, as well as altering or deleting that information. At the same time, hacking not only undermines the security of targeted systems, but also has the potential to compromise the internet as a whole. For these reasons, Privacy International has focused sustained attention on this issue and has been challenging these powers through litigation.” Caroline Wilson Palow, Legal Director of Privacy International
About: Government hacking refers to governments exploiting vulnerabilities in systems such as smartphones and laptops (social media, emails) to gain access to information that is otherwise encrypted or inaccessible.
How does it work?: Deploying malware – a computer programme designed to infiltrate a user’s device. Malware may alter the device in order to control and surveil personal data and the user’s digital activity.
Why is this wrong? Hacking our devices represents an attack on our privacy. It also puts huge power in the hands of states, who are able to use the data gathered to control populations.
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