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Technology 26 July 2021

The Week in Internet News: Spyware Targets Human Rights Activists, Journalists

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Spyware on the loose: Military-grade spyware from Israeli company NSO Group has been used to spy on journalists, human rights activists, and business leaders, according to an investigation from the Washington Post and media partners. Among the people being spied on were several Arab royal family members, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and more than 600 politicians and government officials, the news reports say. While NSO defends the Pegasus software as being used for legitimate criminal and antiterrorism investigations, the new report raises questions about NSO’s record on human rights, the Jerusalem Post adds.

Beam it in: With Internet access largely blocked in Cuba, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is looking for ways to provide services to residents there. But bringing Internet to a closed society is not easy, QZ.com says. Among the ideas, the U.S. government could fast track applications to provide new satellite broadband services, it could relaunch the hot air balloons from Google’s scuttled Loon broadband experiment, and it could turn the Guantanamo Bay naval base into a huge Wi-Fi hotspot.

Ready player 2 billion: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wants to turn the social media services into an online metaverse, where people play games, work, and communicate in a virtual world, often using virtual reality headsets, the BBC reports. Users will “feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness,” he said.

Close to home: An Iranian cleric wants the country to crack down on Internet content in the country, saying U.S. websites are intruding on the country’s culture and creating lust in young people there, Reuters reports at Iran International. While Iran already filters the Internet, cleric Ahmad Khatami wants the government to do more blocking. “When our youth have access to all the cyberspace of other countries, it means that the culture of others’ lives in the homes of all Iranians,” he said.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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