The Lahore High Court in Pakistan is set to hear a case regarding the discovery of spyware suite FinFisher in the country. The lawsuit, brought by Citizen Lab Cyber Steward Partner Bytes for All, contends that the Pakistani government violated constitutional rights by indiscriminately spying on its citizens, which violates the Privacy Act.
FinFisher spy software is developed by Gamma International, and is marketed to governments, intelligence agencies, and law enforcement. Citizen Lab first identified the presence of FinFisher servers in Pakistan in 2013, documented in the report entitled “For Their Eyes Only: The Commercialization of Digital Spying.” In a Channel News Asia article, Director Ron Deibert explained the methods researchers used to detect the spyware, which was regarded as nearly impossible to identify. “We were able to get samples of the malicious software from targets,” Deibert said. He added, “through forensic analysis of the software samples, reverse engineering and understanding how the spyware works, we were able to see where the software connects to. After doing that, we found the locations of servers in a number of countries, one of which was Pakistan.”
Privacy International also filed a criminal complaint regarding FinFisher in October 2014, alleging that Bahraini authorities had used the software to target political activists and dissidents based in the United Kingdom.