Access Now


Between a hack and a hard place: how Pegasus spyware crushes civic space in Jordan

Civil society in Jordan is under attack. Our new joint investigation with the Citizen Lab and local partners reveals the hacking of 35 individuals — including journalists, activists, and human rights lawyers — using Israeli spyware firm NSO Group’s notorious Pegasus spyware. The staggering number of victims in Jordan, some of whom were hacked multiple times, “reveals only the tip of widespread surveillance and spyware abuse,” says Access Now’s Marwa Fatafta. “NSO Group must be held accountable, together with its government clients that perpetrate such abuse.” Read more via Access Now

Speaking of accountability...

U.K. court tosses Saudi government’s appeal in Pegasus spyware case

Good news: it looks like London-based Saudi dissident Ghanem Al-Masarir will get his day in court. Al-Masarir sued the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSR) after discovering his phones had been hacked using NSO’s Pegasus spyware. The KSR legal team tried to appeal a 2022 judgment finding that Al-Masarir’s lawsuit could proceed. But since they failed to pay a court-ordered security payment, that appeal has now been struck out. Al-Masirir plans to file for a judgment in his favor on the substantive claims. “My commitment to truth and accountability remains unyielding, a flame that will continue to burn until justice prevails,” he says. Read more via Leighday

Myanmar’s digital iron curtain

A new call for global solidarity and decisive action to end Myanmar’s military rule

Three years after the Myanmar military seized power in a violent and deadly coup, the junta is still perpetrating unimaginably brutal attacks against anyone who resists. It’s also using internet shutdowns, surveillance, and other digital dictatorship tactics to hide atrocities and maintain its grip on power. Yet the resistance is reportedly growing stronger. On February 1, Access Now and local and international civil society actors issued a joint statement urging the international community to stand with the people, offering not only solidarity, but also concrete resources to resist digital oppression.“The people of Myanmar continue to fight against the brutal military regime, to bring down Myanmar’s digital iron curtain,” says Wai Phyo Myint, Asia Pacific Policy Analyst at Access Now. Please amplify our call. Read more via Access Now

Mapping Myanmar’s prisons and labor camps

There are some things even a powerful junta can’t hide from the world. Myanmar Witness, a project supported by the U.K. nonprofit Centre for Information Resilience, has used open-source satellite imagery to document the expansion of prisons and use of forced labor camps in Myanmar between February 2021 and January 2024 — painting a vivid picture of the suffering that a reported 25,931 political prisoners continue to endure. Read more via Myanmar Witness

Oh, the inhumanity

How Israeli soldiers are TikToking their war crimes in Gaza

Even in the wake of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order for Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza, civil society continues to document instances where Israeli soldiers openly mock Palestinians or brag about actions that may constitute war crimes, posting the evidence online. Companies like TikTok must respect human rights, a duty that’s critical during times of war or conflict. “Platforms have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their users,” says Access Now’s Marwa Fatafta. “I do not understand how this type of content would make users feel safe.” Read more via the New Arab

LISTEN: “Digital rights and Big Tech in MENA”

What are the obstacles people in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region face when it comes to digital rights? And how are they tied to global challenges? In this podcast episode, Access Now’s Marwa Fatafa and Kassem Mnejja answer these and other questions, covering developments in Tunisia, Sudan, and Palestine. Tune in via LSE Middle East Centre

The anti-security treaty

URGENT: States must reject any cybercrime treaty that will make us less safe

As UN member states met in New York this week for the final talks on the draft resolution for the UN cybercrime treaty. Access Now joined our international partners to send a single, unified message: unless it is amended, it must be rejected. As it stands, the draft has serious flaws that could legitimize harmful surveillance, undermine human rights, and hurt security researchers and whistleblowers around the world. Now is the time to correct course. Read more via Access Now

NEW: UN cybercrime convention: FAQ on necessary reforms

What are the red lines needed to prevent the treaty from being used as a tool for global surveillance and other forms of human rights abuse? Our new FAQ has answers, including our recommendations and ways that human rights advocates, journalists, and other civil society members can help push for reform — or, if necessary, outright rejection of the treaty. Read more via Access Now

The AI Act: where we stand

Council to vote on E.U. AI Act: What’s at stake?

After three years of negotiations, the E.U. Council votes on the AI Act today, February 2. So what’s the scoop on how the legislation will impact our rights, and what happens next? Here’s a summary of the latest updates, what’s at stake, and civil society views on the AI Act, co-authored by Ella Jakubowska and Sarah Chander from EDRi, and Caterina Rodelli and Daniel Leufer from Access Now, with contributions from the AI Core group. Read more via EDRi

We can be heroes

Portrait of a digital rights activist

Too often in the battle for digital rights, we forget to celebrate the people working every day to keep us safe. If you need inspiration, check out this moving profile of Alex, a 31-year-old Romanian activist working on digital forensics at Amnesty International’s Security Lab. “At the end of the day, digital forensics are just another form of caring for ourselves,” she says. Read more via Amnesty International

A decade of internet freedom in Africa: reflections from the changemakers

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) interviews 10 people who have been instrumental in shaping Africa’s digital and internet freedom advocacy. Here’s what motivated them to get involved, what progress they’re seeing, and what they see as the most important challenges ahead. Read more via CIPESA

Opportunities and other highlights

APPLY: Datafication and Democracy Fund

The way governments and companies use our data impacts our basic rights and freedoms. Without strong data protection laws, this use — and abuse — can put democracies at risk. If you’re part of an NGO or nonprofit in a Global Majority country and you work on issues of datafication and democracy, you may be eligible for funding. Check out the details and apply by February 29. Learn more via Data Privacy Brazil

LEARN: New dashboard helps you hold the global tech sector accountable

If you’re a human rights advocate, responsible investor, tech worker, or simply someone who wants to learn more about the human rights impact of a company’s corporate practices, you’re in luck. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) has a new dashboard that tracks companies around the world, giving you easy access to information about whether and how they’re meeting benchmarks for respecting our rights. Learn more via BHRRC