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Amnesty anti-spyware app tells you if the government is watching you

Privacy campaigners have developed an app that scans your computer for surveillance spyware.


Ever feel like someone's watching you? Amnesty International has released an app to find out if governments are spying on you.

Detekt is a free and open source software that scans your computers for known surveillance spyware. The app was developed by German security researcher Claudio Guarnieri, and it's launched by Amnesty today in partnership with civil rights and consumer protection organisations Digitale Gesellschaft from Germany, Electronic Frontier Foundation from the US and Privacy International from the UK.

The app searches Windows PCs for known spyware that could be monitoring journalists and activists, with Amnesty claiming that surveillance technology has been discovered in "dozens" of counties all across the world. Amnesty accuses "cowardly" governments of using "dangerous and sophisticated technology" to read activists and journalists' private emails and even turn on their computer's camera or microphone to secretly record their activities.

As an example of such spyware, Amnesty highlights FinSpy, software developed by German firm FinFisher that can be used to monitor emails and Skype conversations, extract files from hard drives, and even take screenshots and photos using a device's camera. According to information published by Wikileaks, FinFisher has been used to spy on human rights lawyers and activists in Bahrain.

Amnesty warns that spyware developers will probably react to the app, updating their software to avoid detection. And that's just the software Detekt can find -- Amnesty admits that even if the app doesn't find traces of spyware on a computer, it does not necessarily mean that none is present.

If Detekt does detect spyware, Amnesty reccomends that you disconnect your computer from the Internet and seek help from an expert, from a different computer connected to the Internet from a different place than you would normally.