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ISRAEL’S cyber spy industry helps many of the world’s most brutal regimes track down “dissidents and gays,” according to a damning new report by liberal newspaper Haaretz.
The investigation, drawing on 100 sources across 15 countries, found that Israeli surveillance equipment was being used by authoritarian governments to clamp down on opponents.
Civilians’ emails were monitored, apps hacked into and human rights activists’ conversations recorded by the espionage and intelligence-gathering software, which can be used to monitor social media.
“The systems concentrate on open-source information and analyse it in a way that enables conclusions to be drawn from big data and to assist the authorities,” the report says.
The sale of the spyware is conducted by private companies whose client list includes the gulf kingdom of Bahrain, where the ruling family brutally suppressed opposition with the aid of Saudi Arabian forces during the Arab Spring protests of 2010.
According to a source known as Arnon, Israelis use foreign passports to enter Bahrain, where they train regime officials in how to use the Verint systems.
“I have been to many countries. There were places where I trained soldiers and members of enforcement agencies, and places where we trained confidants, people who seem to be members of the ruler’s extended family.
“In Bahrain, all the members of the team were Indians and alongside them were the personnel of Bahraini intelligence, including women, by the way,” Arnon said.
“If I had to speculate on what use they make of the systems, I would guess that it has to do with anti-regime protest,” the source added.
Sales were also made to Malaysia, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, South Sudan, Honduras, Colombia, Uganda, Nigeria, Ecuador and the United Arab Emirates.
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