The government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela approved the purchase of Cellebrite UFED Touch2 units for 51,300 Euros. These high-tech devices are used to hack and extract all data from mobile phones, including conversations, photos, documents, and emails – ostensibly during legitimate criminal investigations, but has been abused by repressive regimes.

The news sparks fear of widespread abuse to further persecute activists, political dissidents, journalists, and their sources. It’s already common for Venezuelan security forces to confiscate mobile phones from activists and journalists, pointing at the dire consequences of the abuse of this tool.

Cases of political prisoners and torture stain Venezuela’s recent human rights record, coming under intense criticism by the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, international organizations such as Amnesty International and local human rights defenders.

Furthermore, the government of Nicolas Maduro has shown increasing interest in using digital means to control its citizens. In addition to increasingly pervasive internet censorship; It has endorsed well-documented cases of phishing against dissidents. Going as far as to manipulating internet traffic to help lure users into exposing their political activism.

We urge Israel-based Cellebrite, their parent Sun Corporation, the government of Israel, and any other government in a suitable position to move quickly to prevent the sale of any data extraction or surveillance tools to the government of Venezuela. The safety of many journalists, their sources, activists, and human rights defenders might depend on it.

Venezuela Inteligente
The VE sin Filtro project
Espacio Público
Redes Ayuda
Derechos Digitales
TEDIC - Paraguay
Internet Society, Capítulo Venezuela
Centro para los Defensores y la Justicia (CDJ)
Promoción Educación y Defensa en DDHH - PROMEDEHUM
Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello (CDH-UCAB)
Asociación Civil Fuerza, Unión, Justicia, Solidaridad y Paz (FUNPAZ)
Dirección de Telecomunicaciones y Servicios (ULA)
Colegio Nacional de Periodistas
Organización Trébol
Asociación por los Derechos Civiles
Justicia y Paz OP Venezuela
Clima21 - Ambiente y Derechos Humanos
Acción Solidaria
Observatorio cubano de derechos humanos (OCDH)
IPANDETEC Centroamérica
Laboratorio de Paz
Laboratorio de Paz
Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad de Los Andes
Epikeia Observatorio Universitario de Derechos Humanos
Control Ciudadano para la Seguridad, la Defensa y la Fuerza Armada Nacional.
Ipys Venezuela