A man claiming to have been spied on by Ethiopia has filed a lawsuit; the lawsuit filed on Tuesday accuses Ethiopia of infecting a US man's computer with "spyware" with the intention of gathering intelligence. The 'spyware' that is supposedly to have been used is malware, short for malicious software, was used to record and upload his Skype calls and other private data.
"We have clear evidence of a foreign government secretly infiltrating an American's computer in America, listening to his calls and obtaining access to a wide swath of his private life," said attorney Nate Cardozo of Internet rights group Electronic Freedom Foundation.
The malware was slipped onto his machine when he opened an emailed document file booby-trapped with a program called FinSpy, according to the EFF. Analysis of the computer showed that recordings of Skype calls and other data was sent to a server in Ethiopia controlled by the government there, the EFF charged.
Government surveillance programs are a common occurrence, especially on citizens that are considered a threat to the state; many government agencies have even admitted that they conduct surveillance on their own citizens for safety reasons, this seems understandable enough, internet rights activists don't believe that that is the case.
"The problem of governments violating the privacy of their political opponents through digital surveillance is not isolated -- it's already big and growing bigger," said EFF legal director Cindy Cohn.
People will claim compensation for their rights being violated, just like the US man, but since it is difficult for an individual to take internet privacy matters into their own hands it is not possible to say how this case might pan out. Though, the man is approaching the case with the notion that being spied upon violated US privacy laws. The US is also involved in the spy game so it's impossible to tell what kind of support the man is going to get during the case.