Some of the biggest risks to human rights in the twenty-first century come from governments misusing surveillance technology originally designed to combat counterterrorism. These spyware tools are manufactured around the world, including in the United States, the European Union, China, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates.

The technology is difficult to detect and allows access to a target’s communications, contacts, and geolocation and metadata. It can even delete information or plant incriminating data on a person’s phone. Now, nations are using it to spy on politicians, journalists, human rights activists, lawyers, and ordinary citizens with no links to terrorism.

As a reminder, this is Part 2 of a conversation with Fionnuala Ni Aoláin. Fionnuala recently completed her tenure as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism.

For nearly six years, she examined global and country counterterrorism practices and how they do or don’t comply with human rights standards. To hear Part 1 of our discussion, including Fionnuala’s insights from her experience documenting the conditions at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in prisons and sprawling camps in Northeast Syria, please tune in to last week’s episode, which you can find in the show notes and on our website.

Listen to the podcast by clicking below.

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