2021, Sat, Jul 03

Digital Violence

How the NSO Group Enables State Terror

How is spyware produced by a private company used to enable state terror? Who gets hacked and what are the consequences? What is the economic logic behind the spread of cyber surveillance? A new investigation by Forensic Architecture, with the support of Amnesty International, the Citizen Lab and Laura Poitras, maps for the first time the totality of known infections worldwide by the malware Pegasus, made by cyber-surveillance company NSO Group.

The investigation includes a series of videos titled The Pegasus Stories describing the effect of digital infection on the private life and work of journalists and human right defenders and an interactive web platform featuring thousands of data points to demonstrate new connections and patterns between “digital violence” and real-world violence directed at lawyers, activists and other civil society figures. It also includes research on the private investment and corporate structure that enabled this digital surveillance to proliferate.

A hybrid event at HKW will present this new investigation in the context of the launch of the Investigative Commons, a pioneering collaboration between journalists, investigators, reporters, artists, lawyers, activists, architects and scientists, operating across multiple forums: courts, cultural institutions and media platforms.

With contributions by Wolfgang Kaleck of ECCHR, Forensic Architecture’s Christina Varvia live at HKW; per video Shourideh C. Molavi and Eyal Weizman of Forensic Architecture, investigative filmmaker Laura Poitras, human rights defenders from Mexico and Saudi Arabia who have been targeted by Pegasus, and a lawyer pursuing NSO for accountability, speakers from Amnesty International, the Citizen Lab and Edward Snowden. The event will also include a new data sonification piece composed by Brian Eno, based on the project’s data.

Saturday, July 3

7pm
Introduction
By Anselm Franke

Investigative Commons
Presentation by Christina Varvia and Wolfgang Kaleck (on site at HKW)

7.15pm
Digital Violence: How the NSO Group Enables State Terror
Presentation by Eyal Weizman and Shourideh C. Molavi (via video)

  • With John Scott Railton (Senior Researcher, The Citizen Lab)
  • Laura Poitras (filmmaker)
  • María del Carmen Aristegui Flores (Journalist and head of Aristegui Noticias, targeted by NSO’s Pegasus)
  • Yahya Assiri (Human rights defender and founder of the NGOALQST for Human Rights, targeted by NSO’s Pegasus)
  • Alaa Mahajna (Lawyer suing NSO Group on behalf of human rights defenders)
  • Danna Ingleton (Deputy Director, Amnesty Tech)
  • Edward Snowden (President of Freedom of the Press Foundation)

8.30pm
Pegasus: Targeting the Investigators
Screening of the investigation video by Forensic Architecture, 9min, followed by a Q&A with all contributors