Commentary

Spyware merchants: the risks of outsourcing government hacking

21 Jul 2017
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This article argues that there needs to be more transparency, oversight and strong steps toward developing a robust framework of accountability for both the government and private spyware companies.

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An Australian Tax Office (ATO) staffer recently leaked on LinkedIn a step-by-step guide to hacking a smartphone.

The documents, which have since been removed, indicate that the ATO has access to Universal Forensic Extraction software made by the Israeli company Cellebrite. This technology is part of a commercial industry that profits from bypassing the security features of devices to gain access to private data.

The ATO later stated that while it does use these methods to aid criminal investigations, it “does not monitor taxpayers’ mobile phones or remotely access their mobile devices”.

Nevertheless, the distribution of commercial spyware to government agencies appears to be common practice in Australia.

Read the full article on The Conversation.

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PUBLICATION DETAILS

Resource Type: 
APO URI: http://apo.org.au/node/99551
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CC BY-ND