Spain Catalonia monitoring – Rights experts in Spain demand an investigation into the claim Leaders in Catalonia were monitored

Date:

Rights experts in Spain demand an investigation into the claim Leaders

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Friday, February 03, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

Spain Catalonia monitoring – Recently, a group of rights experts in Spain have called for an investigation into the alleged monitoring of leaders in Catalonia. The experts are concerned about potential violations of privacy and freedom of expression, as well as the possible misuse of state resources for political purposes.

  • “Top figures were detained after the independence vote in October 2017, Spain charged the leaders of the Catalan independence movement with sedition.

  • According to reports, Pegasus and Candiru malware were used to hack into the mobile phones of at least 65 Catalan lawmakers and activists.

  • Experts say that some of the people who were hurt were members of the European Parliament, lawmakers, judges, and people from civil society.

  • In response, the authorities said that they were still looking into the matter and could not say anything about cases still being looked at by the courts.

  • “They asked Spain to join, saying, “We also want to restate our request for a global ban on the sale and transfer of surveillance technology until strong rules are in place that make sure it is used in a way that is consistent with international human rights standards.

In a statement, the Catalan minority activists in Spain said, “Spanish authorities must conduct a full, fair, and effective investigation into these charges, publish the results, and stop any illegal interference with the fundamental rights of the Catalan minority activists in Spain.”

Top figures are detained

After the October 2017 independence vote, Spain charged the leaders of the Catalan independence movement with sedition.

The spying is said to have happened between that year and 2020, with most of it happening right after the election.

According to reports, Pegasus and Candiru malware were used to hack into the mobile phones of at least 65 Catalan lawmakers and activists.

Experts say that some of the people who were hurt were members of the European Parliament, lawmakers, judges, and people from civil society.

Programme for sophisticated surveillance

The NSO Group is an Israeli cyber-intelligence company, according to its website. It uses technology to help governments find and stop threats. This company invented Pegasus spyware.

The Human Rights Council-appointed experts said that the company’s clientele included Spain’s national intelligence agency.

They were especially alarmed by the complexity and scope of the purported spying program, noting that the people targeted had not participated in violent crimes.

They also warned that if people used this malware a lot, it would lead to more self-censorship, which would hurt human rights, especially the rights of minorities.

Individualised text messages

Reports say that many victims were targeted by SMS-based attacks, in which they were sent text messages with malicious URLs that were meant to trick them.

The experts said that while each attempt was different regarding how detailed and personalized the messages were, they all showed a deep understanding of the target’s routines, interests, activities, and worries.

They continued, “In many cases, the timing or the text’s substance were highly customized to the targets and suggested the likelihood of other forms of monitoring being used against them.”

Additionally, highly personalized official notices from Spanish government agencies, such as the tax and social security authorities, were used to target victims.

They claimed that one victim’s letter contained a section of his genuine official tax identification number, indicating that the attackers may have had access to this data.

Stop using spyware

In October 2022, the experts sent a letter to the Spanish government. In response, the authorities said that they were still looking into the matter and could not say anything about cases still being looked at by the courts.

The UN experts stated, “We anticipate the results of the pending judicial investigation.”

They asked Spain to join, saying, “We also want to restate our request for a global ban on the sale and transfer of surveillance technology until strong rules are in place that makes sure it is used in a way that is consistent with international human rights standards.”

Concerning UN Reporters

Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues; Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association; and Irene Kahn, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, are the UN independent experts that released the statement.

Special rapporteurs serve in their capacities and work voluntarily. They are not UN employees, and their labor is not compensated.

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