UK To Host Spyware Firm Accused of Aiding Human Rights Abuses

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The British government is helping a controversial Israeli spyware company to market its surveillance technologies at a secretive trade fair visited by repressive regimes, the Guardian can reveal. The government will host the NSO Group, which sells technology that has allegedly been used by autocratic regimes to spy on the private messages of journalists and human rights activists, at the closed Security and Policing trade fair in Hampshire next month. The NSO Group is due to be an exhibitor at the three-day fair, where police and security officials from abroad can browse commercial stalls selling surveillance and crowd-control equipment.

Around 60 foreign delegations are typically hosted by the British government to the fair. In the last four years they have included countries whose human rights records have been criticized such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Hong Kong. The identities of this year’s delegations are not known as they are usually announced on the opening day of the fair. NSO has faced allegations that its technology is used to target human rights activists and reporters around the world. At least three UK residents are among those who are alleged to have been targeted using spyware sold by NSO. Among them is a prominent London-based satirist who is suing Saudi Arabia in the UK courts alleging that the Riyadh regime targeted him using malware developed by the firm.

The closed Security and Policing trade fair will take place on March 3 at the Farnborough airport exhibition center.