Marietje Schaake, President of the CyberPeace Institute argues that commercially available hacking, intrusion and exfiltration systems are making cyberspace unstable and unsafe for the people connected to it. Prevention of harm and accountability of those who are responsible for facilitating human rights abuses are long overdue.
The CyberPeace Institute joins leading civil society organizations and the UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye in opposing intrusion as a service (IaaS) given its deeply harmful impact on achieving peace in cyberspace.
“We express grave concern with the impact of IaaS on vulnerable populations and individuals that are often the prime targets of these systems designed, marketed and sold to cause harm. Without stronger prevention and accountability, this sector will grow further out of control. A moratorium can bridge the time between now and the moment rules are adopted to protect people from the escalation of IaaS technologies,”said Marietje Schaake, President of the CyberPeace Institute.
The harms of intrusion as a service have global public interest reverberations. Particularly vulnerable populations – human rights defenders, journalists and dissidents – are targeted.
“There are both human rights and security concerns to be addressed, including the proliferation which is widespread and leads to a lack of control and oversight of the most aggressive technological systems,” Marietje Schaake said.
A shortage of laws and international agreements limiting the development and trade of hacking and surveillance systems has resulted in court battles trying to determine where the responsibility lies for companies that sell intrusion as a service.
A coalition of companies, including tech giants Microsoft and Google, have filed an amicus brief in support of a legal case brought by WhatsApp against Israeli intelligence firm NSO Group, whose Pegasus spyware was purchased by governments to target journalists, academics and civilians around the world. Human rights organizations including Access Now and Amnesty International are calling for the U.S. Federal 9th Circuit Court to hold NSO Group accountable.
“NSO Group and other companies must not operate with immunity and thus impunity,” Marietje Schaake commented.
Commercially available hacking, intrusion and exfiltration systems are making cyberspace less stable and unsafe for the people connected to it. Prevention of harms and accountability of those responsible for facilitating human rights abuses are long overdue.
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