The petitioners claim that Cellebrite’s technology is being used to violate human rights due to the political unrest in the former British colony
A new petition demands that Israel’s Ministry of Defense stop the exportation of Cellebrite Mobile Synchronization products to Hong Kong due to the political changes in there. The petition was filed in the Tel Aviv District Court last week and it asserts that Israeli surveillance technology is now being used to violate human rights in China, this according to a report in Calcalist.
The lawsuit is over the Cellebrite system called UFED that can break through “cell phone protections and gather information from them.” In 2019, the petitioners note, there was a deterioration in the situation of Hong Kong which lost its de facto independence and became part of China. The United States, for example, halted defense exports to the country.
The plaintifs further note that “in the last year alone, a Cellebrite system has been used to hack into the 4,000 cell phones of citizens and activists for democracy who have been arrested.” The petition was filed by attorney Itai Mack, who also signed it as a petitioner with 60 other social and political activists.
Cellebrite, the petition states, “sells only to police forces around the world and as far as the petitioners are aware is not registered in the Defense Export Registry of the Israeli Ministry of Defense and accordingly has never received a license for defense exports to any country.”
The petition details the new legislation in Hong Kong that restricts freedom of expression and protest in the city and defines, among other things, political protest as an act of terrorism. It also prohibits citizens from passing information to foreign entities, due to changes in US political climate and an embargo.