MJM as Personified Evil Says Spyware Saves Lives Not Kills Them – Businessweek

In the secretive world of surveillance technology, he goes just by his initials: MJM.

His mystique is such that other security professionals avoid using wireless Internet near him. MJM himself suggests that those he meets allay their paranoia by taking batteries out of their mobile phones.

MJM — Martin J. Muench — is the developer of Andover, U.K.-based Gamma Group’s FinFisher intrusion software, which he sells to police and spy agencies around the world for monitoring computers and smartphones to intercept Skype calls, peer through Web cameras and record keystrokes.

In the past year, the hacker-turned-executive has himself been under attack as the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings unravelled the cloak of secrecy he’d operated behind.

FinFisher’s once-elusive FinSpy tool has been exposed targeting activists from the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain; decoded for the first time by computer-virus hunters; placed under export control by the U.K.; and traced to countries with poor human rights records, such as Turkmenistan in Central Asia.

As evidence mounts that repressive regimes routinely use surveillance gear to track and capture dissidents, FinSpy has been singled out as one of the most invasive weapons. The attention has subjected Muench to death threats, he says, and government scrutiny.

via MJM as Personified Evil Says Spyware Saves Lives Not Kills Them – Businessweek.

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2 thoughts on “MJM as Personified Evil Says Spyware Saves Lives Not Kills Them – Businessweek

  1. See these kinds of stories will have you in a tin foil hat, covering up webcams, and watching what you say on the phone. The issue with these kinds of technologies is always what if it fall into the wrong hands. But at the same time I fell like I would have been made eventually so don’t you want to make it first and try to control it versus trying to bury it and having someone else make it their own way and trying to play catch up. I’m really torn with a story like this it has potential for so much good and so much bad. I guess the only thing we can do is encrypt our communications and make sure that our devices are secure some how.

  2. I agree with you Khysaw that the issue with these kinds of technologies is always what if it falls into the wrong hands. Obviously the surveillance technology was intended for good use; to weed out the malicious activists. However, I feel this relates to the Panopticon. When we feel that we are being watched we instinctively act in differently than we normally would. If everyone changed their behavior because they knew there was a possibility that they were being watched than I feel that people would lose their sense of self. People would inherently start acting differently from their true self, basically making everyone fake. If I knew someone was watching a Skype call between me and my girlfriend I know I would completely be weary of what I say and make sure that whatever I did say was appropriate, thus changing how I would have acted initially. Even if I don’t have anything to hide during the Skype call I still would be conscious of what I was saying and change my behavior. My only hope is that the technology doesn’t fall into the wrong hands where someone could use it against people maliciously. This technology has the ability to capture our very private lives and if put in the wrong hands it could damage people’s lives.

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