Concerns grow that Egypt may use Cop27 to monitor regime critics | policeman 27

There are growing concerns about monitoring delegates in policeman 27 Climate Talks in Egypt, where cybersecurity experts have warned that the official Chats app requires access to a user’s location, photos, and even emails when downloaded.

The revelation, as more than 25,000 heads of state, diplomats, negotiators, journalists and activists from around the world gathered for a climate summit starting in Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday, raised fears that Egypt’s authoritarian regime would be able to use an official platform for a UN event to track and harass attendees and voices local critic.

the official policeman 27 The app, which has already been downloaded more than 5,000 times, requires sweeping permissions from users before installing it, including the ability of Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to view emails, search for photos and locate users, according to an expert who analyzed for The Guardian.

This data can be used by the regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to further suppress dissent in an already country He carries About 65,000 political prisoners. Egypt conducted a series of masses arrests of the people accused of protesting in the run-up to Cop27 and sought to screen and isolate any activist near the talks, which will see governments attempt to reach an agreement on dealing with the climate crisis.

“This is an evil cartoon for an app,” said Jenny Gephart, advocacy director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “The biggest red flag is the number of permissions required, which is not necessary for the app to run and indicates that they are trying to monitor attendees.

“No reasonable person would want to consent to being monitored by a nation-state, or having their emails read by them, but often people click on these permissions without thinking much.”

She added, “I can’t think of a single good reason why they need these permissions. It’s an open question about how this information is used – it raises a lot of scary possibilities. It might have a silencing effect in that people practice self-censorship when they realize they are being monitored in this way.” It can have a frightening effect.”

Hussain Baoumi of Amnesty International told the Guardian that tech workers working for the rights organization had examined the app and reported a number of concerns prior to Cop27. The app was able to access users’ data for the camera, microphone, bluetooth, and location as well as pair two different apps.

“It can be used for surveillance,” he said.

Baume added, “The issues they found were basically the permissions they were asking for. If granted, it allows the app to be used for surveillance against you. It collects data and sends it to two servers, one of which is in Egypt. The authorities don’t say what they do with that data, and they can use this app to collect data.” the collective of everyone who uses it.”

Amr Magdy of Human Rights Watch said his organization also evaluated the app and found that it “opens doors for abuse.”

Magdy added that conferences like Cop27 are “an excellent opportunity from a security perspective to gather information,” including some activists “who want to know more about them.”

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt. Photograph: Christian Mange/Reuters

Rights activists in Egypt have expressed concerns about the Cop27 app as soon as it becomes available.

You can now download the official file # cup 27 Mobile application but you must provide your full name, email address, mobile phone number, nationality and passport number. You must also enable location tracking. Then the first thing you see is this,” chirp Hossam Baghat, head of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, gave a link to an app screen showing the Egyptian president’s face.

Then he tweeted a screenshot of the terms and conditions of the app, who reads: “Our application reserves the right to access customer accounts for technical, administrative and security reasons.”

Digital monitoring of Cop27 participants comes on top of a highly developed infrastructure to monitor the communications of Egyptian citizens, driven in large part by Egyptian officials’ concerns about the power of digital communications and their connection to the popular uprising of 2011. This includes Deep Packet Inspection Technology Introduced by a US company in 2013, it allows authorities to monitor web traffic moving across the network. The Egyptian government also Online access is prohibited to more than 500 websites, including the country’s only independent news outlet Mada Masr, Using the technology provided by Sandvine of Canada.

Monitored by Major phone service providers such as Vodafone The Egyptian authorities are allowed direct access to all phone calls, text messages and information about users. A Cop27 participant said that Vodafone was distributing free SIM cards to conference attendees upon their arrival at Sharm El Sheikh Airport.

“The Cop27 implementation is really part of the broader surveillance structure in Egypt,” Baume said. “This app comes from a country that does mass surveillance without any apology to its residents. It makes sense, of course, to use the Egyptian government’s app to monitor and collect and use data for purposes unrelated to Cop27. It’s sad but expected of Egypt.”

Rights activists and members of Egyptian civil society critical of the government have been subject to targeted surveillance by Egyptian authorities for years, raising concerns about the risks to prominent activists attending Cop27. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the Citizen’s Lab specified One of the “persistent and widespread phishing campaign against Egyptian civil society” in 2017, which targeted organizations working on issues of human rights, political freedoms and gender as well as individual targets such as lawyers, journalists and activists. Four years later, Citizen Lab has identified a new Attempted phone hacking A prominent former Egyptian opposition leader residing abroad.

South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda also recently bragged to the local cable channel about the level of surveillance at Cop27, including cameras in the back of taxis relaying footage to a local “security observatory.”

“Sisi’s idea of ​​’security’ is collective espionage on everyone” Majdi chirp response.

The Police Headquarters and the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs were contacted for comment.

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