The Convention on Cybercrime: A Tool for Human Rights Advocates to Combat Illegal Government Surveillance Tactics

The Convention on Cybercrime: A Tool for Human Rights Advocates to Combat Illegal Government Surveillance Tactics

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Abusive surveillance tactics are becoming the hallmark of modern authoritarian and corrupt regimes, wherein political opponents, journalists, and activists are often spied upon via telecommunications, email communications, and multiple other means. This type of conduct has in large part been facilitated by the growth of the multi-billion dollar surveillance technology industry, as private companies manufacture and sell spyware software to governments and law enforcement agencies. These products are often sold with the explicit condition that they only be used to combat terrorists and drug cartels; however, governments have been exposed by independent groups and news organizations as having used these tools to spy on human rights lawyers, political opponents, journalists, government critics, and international investigators. Countries in which this type of illegal surveillance has been alleged to occur include Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.