One of the world’s leading nongovernmental organizations dedicated to the protection of human rights has released a powerful software tool for deleting spy programs from computers.
Amnesty International's free software, called Detekt, allows owners of PC-type computers to discover if their computers contain programs through which governments can spy on their activities.
Detekt was developed and launched by Citizen Lab, based at the University of Toronto, and in partnership with other human rights organizations such as Electronic Frontier Foundation and Privacy International.
Amnesty says law enforcement and intelligence agencies around the world spend around $5 billion annually to buy sophisticated programs for spying on human rights activists, journalists and private citizens.
Such programs can be used to monitor communications via Skype, copy desktop screenshots and even download files from a computer’s memory.
Earlier this week, leading Western news agencies reported that a website based in Russia was streaming live video from thousands of private webcams around the world. Amnesty says the cameras, integral parts of most of modern laptop computers, can also be used by government agencies for spying.
Amnesty International warns that their software cannot detect all surveillance programs and that companies and governments will probably quickly update their abilities in order to avoid detection.