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Available Expert - Queen’s expert speaks to spyware as a global problem and threat to democratic freedom

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Queen’s expert David Murakami Wood (Sociology) is available to talk about how spyware on phones has become an increasing concern. This follows the news of the Pegasus spyware potentially being used to target specific Indian politicians, journalists, and activists.

Dr. Murakami Wood says spyware is a global problem and a threat to democratic processes, freedom of the press, and individual and collective human rights. This is an issue, he says, that is not going to be dealt with effectively by countries or companies individually.

"There needs to be an international agreement to control (and preferably ban) this kind of commercial spyware,” says Dr. Murakami Wood. “However, it needs to be emphasized that many of the countries expressing shock and disgust about this are themselves producers and users of spyware through their signals intelligence agencies (CSE in Canada, which is part of the 'Five Eyes', including the NSA in the USA, GCHQ in the UK and the Australian and New Zealand agencies and a whole wider network).”

“NSO Group which sells the Pegasus spyware in question, is strongly connected to Israel's state security establishment. Commercial producers are not entirely separate from states,” says Dr. Murakami Wood. He says international agreement to control state spyware is long overdue and should not be forgotten about while dealing with the commercial variety.

To arrange an interview, please contact media relations officer Victoria Klassen (343-363-1794 or victoria.klassen@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.  

Follow Queen’s News and Media Services on Twitter: http://twitter.com/QueensuMedia.

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