We hate to say we told you so.
Privacy International has for years warned that powerful surveillance technologies are used to facilitate serious human rights abuses with insufficient technological and legal safeguards against abuse.
We now have the most solid evidence to date that we were right. Our latest investigation uncovers disturbing evidence that substantiates our long held concerns.
Today Privacy International publishes an investigation (PDF) into communications surveillance in Uganda. We detail the sale of intrusion malware FinFisher by Gamma International GmbH ('Gamma') to the Ugandan military. FinFisher was the 'backbone' of a secret operation to spy on leading opposition members, activists, elected officials, intelligence insiders and journalists following the 2011 election, which President Museveni following evidence of vote-buying and misuse of state funds.
The Police and military deployed the spyware specifically to “crush...civil disobedience” and “cra[ck] down [on] the rising influence of the opposition” by “blackmailing them”, according a secret briefing document prepared for President Museveni.
Here we summarise our findings and explain their importance in the context of Uganda's presidential elections next year.