wednesday, 17 april of 2013

UK sued over exported surveillance technology


UK sued over exported surveillance technology

UK-based rights group Privacy International said Tuesday that is suing the British government for refusing to divulge information concerning surveillance equipment sold by Gamma International. Gamma International is a software company whose FinFisher software has been used in 25 countries including Bahrain. FinFisher is a Trojan horse program that evades anti-virus utilities and monitors the user's keystrokes, data and Skype calls. Privacy International claims HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) acted unlawfully by either misinterpreting the law to permit its activity or refusing to release the information without caution to the facts. For months, Privacy International lobbied for an investigation into Gamma International's activity. HMRC has opted not to comment on the suit due to legal reasons. Gamma International has denied selling FinFisher to Bahrain.

Bahrain's use of FinFisher software comes amid international scrutiny against Bahrain regarding its treatment of political prisoners. Last month, a court in Bahrain acquitted human rights activist Sayed Yousif Al-Muhafda on charges of spreading false news to harm the country's security on Twitter. In February, the Bahrain Higher Criminal Court acquitted two police officers in the shooting death of a Shiite protestor during the nation's pro-democracy protests in Manama that began in February 2011. The court concluded that the two police officers fired shots at Fadhel Matruk but did not intend to kill him. In December, Bahrain's High Criminal Court of Appeals commuted death sentences for two protestors, instead sentencing them to life imprisonment.

(Published by Jurist – April 16, 2013)

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