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Cyber Attacks On Activists Traced To FinFisher Spyware Of Gamma

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Vernon Silver
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The apparent use of FinFisher against Bahraini activists underscores the need for broader Western export controls of surveillance technology, says Eric King, the head of research at London-based Privacy International.

The group’s lawyers informed U.K. regulators in a July 12 letter that it plans to sue the government for failing to enforce laws already on the books that give it the power to block exports that can be used to violate human rights.

“Plainly there is a very real risk, if not an inevitability, that surveillance equipment, such as the FinFisher products, has been, and continues to be, exported to countries where it is highly likely to be used for internal repression and breaches of human rights,” the letter to the U.K. secretary of state for business innovation and skills said.

The Department for Business is considering Privacy International’s letter and will respond, a spokesman said. The U.K. government has proposed that arms-related export controls followed by most Western nations be expanded to add certain surveillance technology, and is pursuing this with other countries, the department said in a statement.