19:00 - 19:30
Hacking Team in Latin American post-dictatorships

Short thesis

On july 5th 2015, 400GB of information regarding Hacking Team – the Italian company that sells surveillance malware to governments all across the globe – was filtered. In Latin America, most countries contacted and negotiated with the enterprise. Nonetheless, the use of the malware in the region is illegal and amounts to grave violations of human rights. Given the history of authoritarian and dictatorial countries in the region, how do we analyze the implications for democratic institutions in these countries? What is the impact for dissidence and journalism and in the region when facing this invasive malware?


Remote Control System, or Galileo, is one of the most invasive surveillance softwares known today. It can access almost anything in a computer, phone or tablet: contacts, used applications, calendar, calls and audio, Skype, camera and webcam, chat, desktop, opened archives, hard drive, screen shots and visited internet webpages. With all the information contained in these devices now a days, our right to provacy is at risk.

Most Latin American countries had contact with Hacking Team. Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, México and Panamá bought Galileo. Aditionally, Argentina, Guatemala, Paraguay, Uruguay and Paraguay negociated with the company but never bought anything.

Hacking Team exploits the legal loophole that lies within the traditional interception of communications and physical searches to sell the malware to governments that use it to spy on activists, journalists and political dissidents. Given the history of authoritarian and dictatorial countries in the region, this panel aims to analize the implications for democratic institutions in these countries in three aspects. One, a technical description on how Remote Control System works. Two, with this a base, a legal overview of surveillance frames –either by intelligence agencies or within criminal procedures—in each country that bought the software. Three, the implications on freedom of speech and political participation given that the use of such technologies is not regulated in any of these countries with very few transparency standards.

The discussion centers mostly on the new surveillance technologies that are not regulated by law and amount to grave violations of human rights. How can we have better public policies regarding the subject? How to punish enterprises for human rights violations online? And most importantly, how to resist such invasion to our privacy from a Latin American perspective?