Question: What are spywares? Explain. How are spywares posing a threat to free speech and right to dissent in a democratic society?
Answer: Spywares are intentionally designed codes and software that can infect an individual’s computer or mobile system and transmit confidential data back to the handler.
Spywares usually are unintentionally installed on devices by clicking on a fake link or message. It will be difficult to identify the malware in the device.
Working of spywares
- The spywares get control of the device’s operating system through overriding the existing code of the device.
- It will gain access to many confidential data such as location, contacts, messages, passwords, emails etc and send data back to handler.
- The latest spywares can turn on the microphone and camera to spy on the surrounding areas. They are usually compact with all types of operating systems.
- Modern spywares have more ability to stay hidden. They do not consume too much battery or data. They reduce chances of discovery by alert users.
- New spywares have been able to infect devices just through a missed call without even need for the user to click on the link.
Spywares posing threat to democratic society
- Tracking activities of anti-establishment groups
Government agencies have been caught using spywares to peep into the devices of individuals such as human right activists, free speech activists and RTI activists.
- Spying on political opponents
Political opponents have been kept on a watch to track their move, strategies and also issues that they will take up against the government in power.
- Spying journalists
Journalists are the first to collect news from sources and tracking them gives opportunity for government to find out if any actions of them have come under scanner.
Thus, use of spywares to track non-criminal elements of society is legally and morally unacceptable. It becomes responsibility of judiciary to prevent such actions.