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Toronto, Canada (February 13, 2014) – Our latest report, entitled “Hacking Team and the Targeting of Ethiopian Journalists,” identified three instances where Ethiopian journalist group ESAT was targeted with spyware in the space of two hours by a single attacker. In each case, the spyware appeared to be RCS (Remote Control System), which is programmed and sold exclusively to governments by Milan-based Hacking Team.

While Hacking Team and other “lawful intercept” spyware vendors purport to practice effective self-regulation, this case seems to be part of a broader pattern of government abuse of such spyware. “Lawful intercept” spyware has also apparently been abused to target Bahraini activists, Moroccan journalists, critics of the Turkish Government, and Emirati human rights activists.

This is the first in a series of reports focusing on the global proliferation and use of Hacking Team’s RCS, a spyware product sold exclusively to governments.  The report was authored by Bill Marczak, Claudio Guarnieri, Morgan Marquis-Boire, and John Scott-Railton.