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Gamma Intl. and internet monitoring concerns in Pakistan

(Note: Our coverage of Canadian firm Netsweeper in Pakistan is here).

In May 2013, Citizen Lab published For Their Eyes Only: The Commercialization of Digital Spying which reported the presence of "FinFisher" commercial surveillance software in many countries, including Pakistan.  FinFisher is made by the British/German company Gamma International.  The report highlighted ways in which FinFisher has been used in abuses of freedom of expression and privacy, including for targeting human rights activists in Bahrain.

Pakistan-based Bolo Bhi and Digital Rights Foundation led a global coalition of privacy and freedom of expression NGOs in calling for an investiation into the presence of FinFisher in Pakistan and for it to be disabled.  As the coalition stated: "we feel that this acquisition and surveillance capability represents a further threat to the free flow of information, user rights, freedom of expression and privacy in Pakistan."

Business & Human Rights invited Gamma International to respond to these concerns but it did not do so.

In October 2013, Bolo Bhi wrote to the UK Embassy and the German Embassy in Pakistan.  In the letters Bolo Bhi called for the following:

"We request the [United Kingdom/German] Government to assist us in seeking answers from FinFisher, that has reportedly sold technology to Pakistan with full awareness that it would be abused. We ask for assistance to hold FinFisher accountable for unethical business practice and for greater transparency and accountability in the trade. We seek assistance in disabling FinFisher command and control centres in Pakistan & call for strict action and tougher laws to hold [British/German] companies accountable as and when they are in violation of domestic, national and international laws."

We will post any response from the governments or from Gamma International on this page.

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Related stories and components

Article
8 May 2013

For Their Eyes Only: The Commercialization of Digital Spying

Author: Citizen Lab

...We have identified FinFisher Command & Control servers in 11 new Countries. Hungary, Turkey, Romania, Panama, Lithuania, Macedonia, South Africa, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bulgaria, Austria...Our previous research uncovered evidence that FinFisher ...

Read more