Governments known to stifle dissent with
imprisonment and beatings or otherwise abuse their power are buying cheap, off-the-shelf surveillance software that can monitor the phone conversations and track the movements of thousands of their citizens, an Associated Press investigation has found.
Such so-called “lawful intercept” software has been available for years to Western police and spy agencies and is now easily obtained by governments that routinely violate basic rights — outside a short blacklist that includes Syria and North Korea. For less than the price of a military helicopter, a country with little technical know-how can buy powerful surveillance gear. more