back to article Mexican government accused of illegal phone hacking of citizens

An investigation by Mexican NGOs and a Canadian tech lab has revealed how the Mexican government is illegally targeting the mobile phones of journalists, lawyers and activists to spy on them. R3D, SocialTic, Article 19 and CitizenLab report that the government has been sending malware links to specific individuals' phones, …

  1. GrapeBunch

    El derecho ajeno

    "Which all leads back to the age-old piece of advice: never click on anything you aren't sure about. "

    Such as "Post a Comment."

    What a world we live in, where journalists need to adopt the "burner phone" modalities seen in B-movies. I hope they are able to have some fun by misdirecting their semi-anonymous followers. But if you just want to get on with your work, I suppose you use a simple phone rather than a smart phone, and I suppose there are lots of times when you power down your simple phone.

    Benito Juarez "El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz." -- "Respect for the rights of others is peace." The 15th of July marks the 150th anniversary of that quote, featured prominently in and around public buildings across Mexico.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coming to a city near you

    Catching T's & P's is hard, but oppressing whistleblowers, that's easy. A hell of a lot easier than actually rooting out corruption or stopping atrocities. Encryption Backdoors??? All for 'Defence of the Realm'.


    "An investigation by Mexican NGOs and a Canadian tech lab has revealed how the Mexican government is illegally targeting the mobile phones of journalists, lawyers and activists to spy on them."

    "Government has been sending malware links to specific individuals' phones, typically with highly personalized messages – even moving on to their family members if they are not duped into clicking."

    "The targets of these efforts, which include journalists reporting on corruption as well as investigators and human rights lawyers looking at atrocities, have gotten used to the attempts to break into their phones."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whereas in the UK

    Any Illegal hacking by the Government of Citizens devices is made Legal retrospectively.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure they're not the only ones

    Does anyone really think the US and UK don't do this? Maybe not as widely to journalists (if the US did then Trump would find the "leakers" he's always whining about) but I'm sure they abuse this far more than we'd be comfortable with if we knew the full extent of it.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: I'm sure they're not the only ones

      I am certain that the UK does this. It always has in the past (Scargill, Ian Paisley MP, Teddy Taylor MP, Jack Straw, Harriett Harman, Peter Hain) why would it stop now when everyone suspects they're doing it anyway.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Meanwhile, in Spain

    Social Security spammed everyone with an SMS containing a link.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't build that wall...

    ....the Mexicans are more like you than you ever realised.

  7. LDS Silver badge

    It's exactly 45 years from the Watergate...

    ... yet politicians still believe they can silence any scandal.

    Mexico,anyway, is another failed country. US looks not to be far away.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Big Brother

    Sounds like some politicians and crooked civil servants are getting a bit nervous.

    Good. Maybe they should consider running out now.

    Anyone want to bet the suppliers will be changing their name again soon?

    As for those fees, well buying a zero day is not cheap.

    Interesting point that Blackberry is the most expensive one still.

    Note. These are not the data fetishists of the UK and US who want to spy on everyone all the time forever.

    They are crooked, corrupt members of the government.

    1. Roj Blake

      Re: Sounds like some politicians and crooked civil servants are getting a bit nervous.

      Being a data fetishist and being crooked and corrupt are not mutually exclusive things.

  9. JaitcH
    Thumb Down

    So Mexico joins most of the rest of the world.

    So Mexico has joined the ranks of the G20 ... and a whole bunch of countries whose people live in poverty.

    The United Nations even has a hand in this. The UN financed several 'suites' of high tech communications gear for Kampuchea / Cambodia. They have one extremely well equipped central 'lab', with three or four regional labs with less equipment. The UN financing included two mobiles with a lot of high-end gear.

    Imagine the shock of my friend, who works for an NGO in a more remote part of northern Cambodia, where there is no cell service and not even electricity, when some squaddy walks up and says the have NO LICENCE for the 5-watt VHF hand-helds they use for NGO members to keep in touch. (A $20 bribe fixed the problem)

    To complete Cambodia's membership in the spy society they have a NSA monitoring outpost in Phnom Penh.

    Makes me appreciate my aged featureless Mitsubishi Trium even more. My smartphone doesn't have a SIM - it uses a MESH radio App.

    Ain't technology great?

    1. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

      Re: So Mexico joins most of the rest of the world.

      I want to upvote the comment for the insight. But downvote it because the situation sucks and how even less of the world is safe for people from their own "leadership".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    coming from a land

    where the "cartels" have been building and maintaining cell networks over increasingly larger parts of Mexican territory, where "police" owing allegiance to Mexico City have their aircraft targetted and brought down by increasingly sophisticated anti-aircraft hardware, where the intel gathering networks and squads of Bad People Doing Bad Things on both sides are more "military" than "paramilitary" in organization, logistics, equipment, funding and training....the concern about being "spied upon" is at best a secondary concern.

    the first concern is understanding the truth, that Mexico is, and has been, engaged in a Civil War. Freedoms and even the barest guarantees of Safety of the average citizen is dependent on their location and their allegiance. Keeping touristas happy and the ongoing suppression of news showing "how bad it really is" changes nothing. Guns, drugs, soldiers-across borders both land and water, various foreign interests starting to play Mexico like Europe, then America and the Chinese once played Vietnam, helping one side or the other, many looking for a strong foothold in the Western Hemisphere and all those resources the supposed "poor" Latin and Central American nations have access to.

    It's hard for touristas to understand, even those who actively work to travel and see outside of the approved views. Even those, know that any deprivation they experience is by CHOICE, and that they can run back to their Western world homes and conflict-free neighborhoods and get on social media and share their experiences. The ones with no real hope of things getting better, wedged between the Federales and the Cartels, who "get it" both literally and figuratively.

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