Pay No Attention To That Man Behind the Curtain: Exposing and Challenging Government Hacking for Surveillance


A growing number of governments around the world are embracing hacking to facilitate their surveillance activities. Privacy International has released a new briefing and related podcast to highlight examples of government hacking for surveillance and explain what government hacking is.

A growing number of governments around the world are embracing hacking to facilitate their surveillance activities. This results in unique and extensive interferences with privacy and other fundamental rights, and poses significant risks to the security of our devices and networks.

Privacy International (PI) has released a new briefing and related podcast to highlight examples of government hacking for surveillance in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ethiopia, Mexico and Uganda. PI has considered them alongside its 10 Hacking Safeguards, which are designed to help civil society analyse government hacking in light of international human rights law. PI also attempts to answer some frequently asked questions about hacking. 

When governments hack for surveillance purposes, they are prioritising insecurity and thus undermining the security we so desperately need. For this reason, PI questions whether hacking can ever be a legitimate component of state surveillance. Together with its partners, Privacy International is working to bring transparency and accountability to these powers. 

In the UK, PI is taking a landmark case fighting government hacking to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. PI is eager to partner with interested organisations around the world to change the status quo. If you would like to get involved in PI’s work, do get in touch.

Read the briefing