Saudi human rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has filed a lawsuit against spyware maker DarkMatter Group and three former US intelligence operatives for their role in helping the United Arab Emirates hack into her iPhone and track her movements.
al-Hathloul is one of several people the DarkMatter Group hacked and three executives at the firm – 49-year-old Marc Baier, 34-year-old Ryan Adams and 40-year-old Daniel Gericke – were fined by the Justice Department in September for their role in helping oppressive governments like the UAE violate several US laws.
The three were part of Project Raven, an effort by the UAE to spy on human rights activists, politicians, journalists and dissidents opposed to the government during the Arab Spring protests. The three hacked into US companies and US citizens, creating two exploits that were used to break into smartphones.
In 2019, both Reuters and The Intercept conducted in-depth investigations into the work of Project Raven and DarkMatter after members of the team raised concerns about the kind of hacking they were being asked to do by UAE officials. The case sparked widespread concern about how former officials at the National Security Agency (NSA) and other US spy agencies were spreading the tactics they learned