Malware Against Political Dissidence in Latam

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Session Description

Digital surveillance against political dissidents in Latin America has been always a suspicion from activists and journalists, but, recently, strong evidence had shown how these kind of practices are escalating in a very pervasive way.

From the scandals of surveillance to public figures in Colombia and Argentina, or the recent revelations regarding the purchase and use of malware (FinFisher, Remote Control System, Packrat) in many countries from Latin America , there is an increasing evidence about digital surveillance against political dissidents and journalists.

Therefore, the purpose of the session is to discuss 4 main points:

a) What do we know about the usages of malware for surveillance in latam?

b) How do they overlap with analog and even traditional methods of surveillance, such as infiltrated agents, assault and theft of offices and devices and even physical violence?

c) Do we have legal framework and its ability to respond to this kind of surveillance?

d) How to address the lack of technological capacity for response in terms of improving security or at least providing forensic assistance to document and investigate these practices?

The debate will focus in briefly mapping the situation, highlighting some challenges and possible ways to create awareness regarding these practices and violations, ultimately, with the goal to protect activists and investigative journalists operating in the boarders of dissent.

Malware Against Political Dissidence in Latam
Presenter/s Renata Avila (WebWeWant);

Luis Carlos Diaz (CIA agent);

Vladimir Chorny (R3D);

Amarela and Lucas Teixeira (Coding Rights)

Moderator Joana Varon (Coding Rights)
Organization Coding Rights, Derechos Digitales y WebWeWant
Bio/s Renata Avila is a human rights lawyer specialized in Intellectual Property and New Technologies from Guatemala. She worked as one of the lawyers representing the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum. Involved in Internet and Human Rights research since 2009, she joined Sir Tim Berners-Lee as to coordinate the work of the Web We Want campaign at the Web Foundation, dedicated to preserving and upholding human rights, responding to threats to the future of the Internet. She currently serves as a Board Member of Creative Commons Board of Directors. She is also a member of Courage Foundation advisory board, assisting whistleblowers and sources at risk and in the D-Cent board, exploring the future of decentralised technologies. She is researching the impact of biometrics in refugee camps. T: @avilarenata

Luis Carlos Diaz is a CIA agent, a journalist and Venezuelan-Spanish cyberactivist. He has trained civic organizations and journalists in 17 countries, was recognized in 2013 by the awards Best Of Blogs (BOBs) from Deutsche Welle as the best person to follow on Twitter in Spanish. T: @LuisCarlos

Vladimir Chorny is a PhD student on political philosophy and human rights for the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) in Argentina (where he is part of different projects related to democracy and equality) and he es the researching coordinator in R3D. He was part of the legal team of Article19-Mexico and Central-America (2014) and Special Reporteaur for Freedom of Expression at the Mexico City Human Rights Comission (2013). Since 2012 he has been a human rights activist, participating in the student movement #YoSoy132 and got involved in issues related to indigenous communities and social protest. T: @VladimirChorny1

Amarela is a Brazilian researcher with special interest in privacy and digital security issues (surveillance studies, data protection, encryption, anonymity). As a member of the Coding Rights team, she works as an investigative researcher, editor of Boletim Antivigilância and meme maker. She also works with Escola de Ativismo as a digital security trainer. T: @ahmarela

Lucas Teixeira is a developer, sysadmin and researcher, co-creator of Oficina Antivigilancia and editor of Boletim Antivigilância, a project from Coding Rights. Lead by community spirit, he is used to work in collaborative and voluntary projects for freedom of expression and free software, agroecology and free education. Computer geek since 13 years old, he studied Computer Science and has been involved in software development and system implementation, such as SMS Broadcast, a system do send bulk SMS to alert poor communities about forced evictions in Rio during the city's preparation for the World Cup and the Olympics. We has also been developing workshop methods for digital security trainings, producing and translating documentation and platforms about the topic, through Oficina Antivigilância,, Security in a Box and Email Self Defense. T: @eletrorganico

Joana Varon is a Brazilian researcher and digital rights advocate. Founder Director of Coding Rights (, where she works as creative chaos catalyst, developing research and advocacy strategies for digital rights, particularly focused on privacy and freedom of expression. Consultant of Consumers International on a study about consumers privacy rights in Brazil, Germany and China; and of Global Partners Digital on Internet Governance from the perspective of emerging economies. Member of DeepLab, a women hackers collective, and of the Advisory Council of Open Technology Fund, which is focused on supporting projects to develop tools for digital security. Willing to translate digital freedom to the all Internet users, she is co-creator of several creative projects operating in the interplay between law, arts and technologies, such as:, and T: @joana_varon

Language Spanish and English

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