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Mexico to Investigate Spying Campaign Against Journalists and Activists

Pressure built quickly on the government to take action, with victims of the spyware and others calling for an independent investigation into the surveillance. The forensic analysts say there is little doubt that the Mexican government, or some rogue actor within it, is behind the surveillance attempts. But while the software is sold only to governments, with special precautions to ensure that it can be used only by the agencies that buy it, there is no ironclad proof of the Mexican government’s hand in the spying.

Activists said that the government’s announcement of an investigation, which will be conducted by the attorney general’s office, fell far short of their demands.

To begin with, the attorney general’s office is among the various Mexican agencies that purchased the software, raising the question of whether it will thoroughly investigate itself.

The office heading up the investigation is in charge of crimes against the freedom of expression, tasked with looking into crimes against journalists and human rights defenders. In recent months, it has largely focused on the rising number of murdered reporters.

The government replaced the office’s head prosecutor a few days after a separate Times article showed that the federal government had hardly prosecuted any cases, even though Mexico is among the deadliest places in the world to be a journalist. The Committee to Protect Journalists had also pressed the government on the issue, and had met with Mexico’s president to demand stronger steps to safeguard the nation’s reporters.

Source: NYT > World

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