Privatization of digital espionage

Apple has released an emergency software update to fix a security flaw in its iPhones and other products researchers found was being exploited by the Israeli-based NSO Group to infect the devices with its Pegasus spyware. Over 1.65 billion Apple products in use around the globe were vulnerable to the spyware since at least March. Apple said vulnerable devices could be hacked by receiving a malicious PDF file that users don’t even have to click, known as “zero-click” exploit. The flaw was discovered by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which found the hack in the iPhone records of a Saudi political activist. Earlier this year, a massive data leak revealed Pegasus software had targeted the phones of thousands of journalists, activists and political figures around the world for foreign governments and NSO Group clients.

we and others, our partners at Amnesty International, other research groups, have been tracking, broadly speaking, the commercial spyware market for many years now. And NSO Group first came on our radar, you will recall, back in 2016, when we discovered it was being used by the United Arab Emirates to target a human rights defender named Ahmed Mansoor. Ever since then, we and others have documented extensive abuses of this company’s technology.

So, not surprisingly, when

— source | Sep 15, 2021

Nullius in verba

How .ORG is Saved

If you come at the nonprofit sector, you’d best not miss.

Nonprofits and NGOs around the world were stunned last November when the Internet Society (ISOC) announced that it had agreed to sell the Public Interest Registry—the organization that manages the .ORG top-level domain (TLD)—to private equity firm Ethos Capital. EFF and other leaders in the NGO community sprung to action, writing a letter to ISOC urging it to stop the sale. What follows was possibly the most dramatic show of solidarity from the nonprofit sector of all time. And we won.

Prior to the announcement, EFF had spent six months voicing our concerns to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) about the 2019 .ORG Registry Agreement, which gave the owner of .ORG new powers to censor nonprofits’ websites (the agreement also lifted a longstanding price cap on .ORG registrations and renewals).

The Registry Agreement gave the owner of .ORG the power to implement processes to suspend domain names based on accusations of “activity contrary to applicable law.” It effectively created a new pressure point that repressive governments, corporations, and other bad actors can use to silence their critics

— source | Elliot Harmon | Dec 23, 2020

Nullius in verba

Merger of World’s Biggest Water Corporations Creates Dangerous Monopoly

Veolia announced the acquisition of 29.9 percent of Suez with a plan to acquire full control, merging the two largest water corporations in the world. As part of the deal, Veolia would spin off the Suez water business in France to Meridiam to avoid French antitrust hurdles, but the corporation will retain control of the water assets in the United States, Spain and Chile.

The merger of the world’s largest water corporations will erode any semblance of competition for water privatization deals. This lack of competition will lead to unaffordable costs for families, slack maintenance and safety procedures, loss of union jobs, and potentially rampant corruption. Water privatization has been a disaster for communities across the United States and around the world.

Communities must revert all privatized water and sewer systems to public control to ensure safety and affordability for all.

— source | Oct 5, 2020

Nullius in verba

Bankruptcy for corruption

Crony Capitalism BJP Style
The way in which three power plants in Gujarat were protected from bankruptcy and the deal involving the Essar group, Russia’s Rozneft and ONGC Videsh, are two glaring examples of how crony capitalism has flourished during the BJP Raj. A few corporate groups are picking up stranded assets at dirt-cheap prices exacerbating inequalities in India’s corporate sector, says senior journalist M Rajshekhar in an interview with NewsClick.

Nullius in verba

The .Org Domain Will No Longer Be Sold to Private Equity Vultures

After a massive backlash among experts, activists, and internet users, a controversial plan to sell management of the .org domain system has been cancelled. Late last year the Public Interest Registry (PIR), the agency that has managed the .org domain since 2003, announced it would be selling itself to Ethos Capital, a private equity fund with links to Republican billionaire families like the Perots and Romneys. After a lengthy review and months of debate, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced this week it would be scrapping the sale entirely.

— source | May 1 2020

Nullius in verba