JOINT STATEMENT: STATES & INVESTORS HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO CURTAIL THE ABUSE OF SPYWARE

  • 25/12/2023
  • Publications > Press Releases

We, the undersigned organisations and individuals, call on the governments convening the Summit for Democracy 2023 to prioritise human rights due diligence for spyware technologies on the Summit’s agenda. We have witnessed and reported on how spyware has been repeatedly used to silence journalists, surveil human rights defenders, muzzle dissent, suppress freedom of expression of minorities, target LGBTQ+ persons and women, intimidate academia and discourage peaceful protests. To achieve greater transparency, accountability, peace and a more prosperous future for all, in alignment with the stated objective of the Summit, states and investors must act to prevent the proliferation and abuse of spyware. The unlawful and arbitrary use of spyware has a direct and often disproportionate impact on the right to privacy and degrades other human rights and civic freedoms. 1 For example, NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware is linked to at least 300 acts of physical violence in more than 45 countries worldwide. Women, LGBTQ+ persons and other vulnerable communities targeted by spyware face distinct risks of social exclusion, physical, psychological and sexual violence.