9-15 June: Digital Rights Weekly Update


Check out the full report



Procedural Guide to Palestinian Personal Data Protection in the Digital Space (English)


Since 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UHRC) has shined a light on the necessity to enshrine and protect human rights both off- and- online. In its twentieth session, the UHRC affirmed that “the same rights people enjoy offline must also be protected online.” In an unwavering resolution, the UN body continues to underline this corpus of rights that became known as digital rights, the entitlements all members of humankind are entitled to enjoy—including the Palestinian people. 7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media focuses on digital rights in pursuit of a safe, fair, and free digital space for Palestinians, men and women. In doing so, it gears its programs toward monitoring, researching, advocating, and raising awareness about this dimension of human rights, and it places a focus on the right to privacy and the protection of digital personal data—that is the focus of this guide’s attention.



How an EU Lawmaker Tried to Whitewash Israel’s Role in Spyware Scandal (English)

Electronic Intifada

Few firms have displayed such a brass neck as NSO Group over the past couple of years. When the spyware developer was included in Time magazine’s “most influential companies of 2022” list, it promptly celebrated the “big news.” Being “influential” is not necessarily positive. After noting that the spyware – known as Pegasus – could “steal personal data” from mobile phone apps, Time added that “some governments have reportedly used it to target political dissidents, activists and even the wife of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” Despite being linked to an infamous murder, NSO Group boasted it was “proud” to be one of just two Israeli businesses on the list. The firm promised to continue developing “life-saving technologies.”



Palestinian Forum Highlights Threats of Autonomous Weapons (English)


In late May, I addressed a panel on the militarization of digital spaces – specifically on how Israeli authorities use surveillance technologies to deepen systemic discrimination against Palestinians. I warned that the use of autonomy in weapons systems was a dangerous part of this trend and highlighted the urgent need for an international legal response. This panel was part of this year’s Palestine Digital Activism Forum, hosted by the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, also known as 7amleh. More than 1,500 participants from local and international civil society organizations met to discuss the digital rights challenges faced by Palestinians and activists working on the Palestinian cause.



Israeli Spyware Spreads across the Middle East… Again (English)


In mid-April 2023, the Citizen Lab, a University of Toronto lab researching the convergence between information security and human rights, released a report investigating the Israeli spyware vendor QuaDream. The lengthy report offered a unique look into some previously unknown spyware likely created by QuaDream. Spyware, or spying software, is malicious software that secretly spies on victims and gathers information about them. QuaDream is a highly secretive Israeli company founded in 2016 by a former Israeli Defense Forces official and former NSO Group employees, and develops and sells offensive hacking tools to governments around the world. Similar to the infamous spyware “Pegasus” sold by the Israeli NSO Group, QuaDream gained notoriety through selling its flagship spyware “Reign.”


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