Loujain al-Hathloul, Saudi women’s rights activists, officially filed a lawsuit against three former intelligence contractors in the United States.
Loujain al-Hathloul has filed a lawsuit against 3 American Ex-intelligence agents, alleging that they assisted in the hacking of her cellphone. al-Hathloul is a prominent Saudi female activist who faced detention three years ago following the hack of her personal phone.
A related Center registered the complaint for Hathloul’s in federal court of the United States two days ago. Ryan Adams, Daniel Gericke, and Marc Baier were targets of the case, all out of office now. Besides, DarkMatter, a cyber-security foundation with contracts with Abu Dhabi was also among the targets.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation which filed the lawsuit explained in a statement that the move concerned accountability for the clients. “Companies that peddle their surveillance software and services to oppressive governments must be held accountable for the resulting human rights abuses,” the foundation further explicated.
According to the complaint, al-Hathloul faced apprehension by Emirati intelligence forces as a result of the surveillance activity. The lawsuit clarifies that the former contractors and DarkMatter were behind the infiltration of al-Hathloul’s privacy. The result was her transportation to Riyadh by a private jet, where she faced detention, imprisonment and torture.
The pseudonym “Purple Sword” was al-Hathloul’s codename in DarkMatter’s project. The complaint cites a 2019 probe by the Reuters which first revealed hacking of Al-Hathloul’s electronic gadgets.
The Saudi activist campaigned to lift Saudi Arabia’s prohibition on women’s basic rights like driving and singing. Along with loads of other women’s rights activists, al-Hathloul has been jailed in Saudi Arabia since 2018.
In a trial that aroused widespread outrage, al-Hathloul received a six-year sentence on vague accusations. She was imprisoned for 1001 days, including time in pre-trial custody and solitary imprisonment.
Al-Hathloul; Result of Cooperation with Oppressive Forces
“No government or individual should tolerate the misuse of spy malware to deter human rights or endanger the voice of the human conscious,” asserted al-Hathloul in part a statement that the lawsuit contained. Her words rang the bells about the state sponsorship in providing assistance for suppressors to tighten the grips on activists.
The case is part of a worldwide effort to make firms and people participating in digital spyware responsible for the utility of their products against people. US government put Israeli corporation NSO Group on a sanction list, accusing it of inventing and providing spyware to oppressing governments. These governments, in turn exploited those technologies to deliberately” attack a variety of people, including independent journalists and human rights activists.
Following probes by foreign media sources, the NSO Group prompted outcry from rights organizations early in 2021. The Pegasus, an NSO product, turned into a means for security agencies and autocratic regimes against their targets. Apple and WhatsApp have both filed lawsuit against the NSO on spying charges. NSO has dismissed the criticism, which claims that its devices mean to hunt crooks and terrorist activities.
The ex-contractors mentioned in al-Hathloul’s complaint acknowledged to supplying advanced computer espionage technologies to the UAE a few months ago. The lawsuit explains that the American judicial system is responsible for pursuing the case that accounts for espionage and kidnapping.
“I hope this case inspires others to confront all sorts of cybercrimes while creating a safer space for all of us to grow, share, and learn from one another without the threat of power abuses,” said al-Hathloul in another part of her lawsuit statement.
Saudi and Emirati embassies in Washington avoided responding to the lawsuit leaving US judiciary to decide on the case.