FinFisher: The New Face Of Global Electronic Spying, E-Surveillance And Eavesdropping

PRAVEEN DALAL MANAGING PARTNER OF PERRY4LAW CEO PTLBHuman Right Protection in Cyberspace has become a tedious task in the present E-Surveillance oriented environment around the Globe. Issues like E-Surveillance in India, Cell Site Location Based E-Surveillance In India, Surveillance Of Internet Traffic In India,  Central Monitoring System (CMS) for Telephone Tapping in India, etc are well known.

It is of utmost importance that a Balance between Civil Liberties and National Security Requirements Must be Maintained. Affirming this requirement a District Court of United States has recently declared the FBI National Security Letters (NSLs) With Gag Orders to be Unconstitutional.

In the meantime, some Researchers have found a Malware named FinFisher that is notorious for violating Civil Liberty Stakeholders’ Privacy and Confidentiality. Interestingly, the Malware has spread around the Globe to many Civil Liberty Oppressing Countries.

Although the hand and involvement of Nations in the spreading of this Malware cannot be predicted and confirmed at this stage yet it can also not be ruled out. This is so because the Malware of the nature of Spyware is targeting dissidents living under oppressive regimes.

A Canadian research center has confirmed that it had identified 25 different Countries that host servers linked to FinFisher, a Trojan Hrse program which can dodge Anti-Virus protections to steal data, log keystrokes, eavesdrop on Skype calls, and turn microphones and web cams into live Surveillance devices.

Some have even claimed that the Company making the Spyware has sold the Malware to repressive regimes and this is a potential breach of UK export laws. Besides export norm violations, this episode can also raise a variety of Legal Issues as well, especially those pertaining to Cyber Laws Violations across the Globe, including India.

Unfortunately we have no Harmonised International Legal Frameworks in this regard. For instance an International Cyber Law Treaty Is Required on an urgent basis. Similarly, International Cyber Security Treaty Is Required on priority basis. The United Nations must protect Human Rights in Cyberspace so that Civil Liberties can be suitably protected. Otherwise Self Defense in Cyberspace to Protect Civil Liberties would be the only option left.