Impact of Surveillance Technology on International Politics -Arman Sheikh


World politics moves at its own pace, depending on one thing at a time, giving rise to new events. Human civilization is now at the forefront of technological development. Therefore, the influence and circulation of technology in human politics are increasing day by day. As a result, in some countries, a new government is coming, in some countries, the ruling government is falling. Thus, the accessibility of technology is constantly affecting all the phenomena of human civilization from small to large. As a result, the world leadership has become involved in the game of turning the stick at home and abroad by becoming a clever rider of the digital horse called modern science and technology. The game was once a secret, but now, thanks to technology, it is being published from time to time, exposing the behind masked undercover players.

In the modern world, eavesdropping technology is one of the most popular and powerful tools of leaders to increase their authority over people. Now computer science has access and existence in every house. The covid-19 situation has shown us how to manage everything from home through technology, and how its isolation separates us from the world system. So, people are forced to install technological devices in their homes, and these are now becoming the secret weapons of  rulers to control the human race. Through this the rulers can be aware of all kinds of privacy, personal matters of every human being; Even controlling it sometimes. The surveillance technology has been dubbed the “military weapon” by the world-famous Washington Post, perhaps because it allows people to be hit from the home in the most vulnerable places.

Human needs are infinite; there is no limit to them. If we can control our own house, we are thinking about how to control the house of our neighbor. And if we succeed in that, we will rise and fall to take control of the society and the state. In the same way, the heads of state used to control their country through eavesdropping on the pretext of maintaining law and order. These days the powerful countries are extending that control beyond the country. We have already found evidence of this in the latest ‘Forbidden Stories’ published in the sensational Pegasus Scandal. It shows how the authoritarian government has monitored the journalists, media, human rights activists, the opposition, and their own government workers through their mobile phones or computers. The scandal also raises the eyebrows of powerful states over other states to maintain or increase their influence in world politics. It called for the surveillance of at least 14 heads of state and government, including French President Emmanuel Macron, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Iraqi President Barham Salehi, and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Buying and selling technology is now the most attractive part of the global arms trade. And the controversial Zionist country of Israel is at the forefront of inventing and creating these surveillance technologies. Countries that used to use the old Soviet-Russian eavesdropping technology are now becoming accustomed to the relatively advanced Israeli technology.

One study found that Israeli arms sales have decreased in recent years, but sales of covert surveillance technology have increased. A report in the Times of Israel, published in June 2020, found that Israeli arms sales were down and surveillance technology sales were up. They sold 9.2 billion worth of weapons in 2016, up from 7.2 billion in 2019. It is also to be noted that 8% of the country’s arms exports are miscellaneous cyber and intelligence-related equipment.

There is very little competition in the surveillance technology market compared to the arms market. In addition to receiving money through this, the buyer country can be kept under more control, so Israel is paying full attention to this business. As a result, they are now pursuing the policy of conducting diplomacy through business. Hundreds of doors of diplomacy are opened through business – this is the principle of Israel now.

Although Israel initially developed the spyware industry to monitor and control the Palestinians, it is now exporting the technology worldwide through private companies such as CELLEBRITE, PICSIX, and NSO. It is known that these companies are controlled by the Israeli administration through former detective officers. This strategy of establishing, protecting, and controlling relations with other countries through the provision of surveillance technology has become known in the world as “Spyware Diplomacy”. However, Israel conducts this diplomacy only with the friendly state. No enemy state is on their buyer list.

The power of authoritarian rule in the world is increasing day by day. Many countries are working to protect the triumph of dictatorship in the world moving forward with the rope of Western capitalism and modern imperialism on their shoulders. And to keep the roadmap of this chariot ride smooth and safe, the governments are constantly destroying the security of the people by abandoning ethics. The world’s authoritarian rulers seem to be engaging in mass spyware diplomacy to prolong the long rule and to consolidate the new regime.

We have seen how in the last part of the reign of the former US President Trump, one after another, the monarchical Arab states ignored their own public opinion and suddenly recognized Israel. The reason, analysts say, is that countries are victims of spyware diplomacy. According to the customs and traditions of countries in the Arab world, it is forbidden to establish relations with Israel. Nonetheless, the dictators secretly entered into spyware deals with Israel to maintain rule in their country. And if that news ever leaks, Israel has also outlined strategies on how to suppress the protests using that spyware. As a result, the ruling party did not consider the anger of its people in front of US pressure. There were protests in some countries over the establishment of diplomatic relations, but it vanished in an instant like magic.

How spyware is being hacked and what kind of information is being gathered through it; Israel has control over everything. As a result, they can “blackmail” the buyer’s country in time to realize their own interests, that’s why it is called the “secret door” of the Israeli Intelligence Service. And the latest miracle of using this ‘door’ is the normalization of one Arab state after another with Israel. Not only in the Arab world but also South Asia, the rate of use of Israeli technology is huge. China has been widely accused of using Israeli eavesdropping technology to crackdown on Uighur Muslims and protests in Hong Kong. In addition to China, Israel has sold a variety of surveillance technologies over the past five years in many countries, including Indonesia, Morocco, the Philippines, and India, where the human rights situation has deteriorated.

However, the Israeli government is talking about providing surveillance technology to further improve the human rights situation and law and order in countries where the human rights situation is satisfactory. But the reality is completely different. At first glance, Israeli technology is leading to a worsening human rights situation in the buying countries of Africa and Asia. Neighboring India is already embroiled in controversy over the Pegasus Scandal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has alleged that the Modi government is destroying three pillars of democracy by using eavesdropping technology on phones like Pegasus. After the Indian government refused to investigate, the West Bengal state government formed a committee of inquiry on July 26.

One of the best books of the twentieth century, “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, came to mind when we saw the rampant use of surveillance technology at home and abroad. In it, George Orwell sat down in 1949 and showed what the world would be like in 1984, 35 years later. As can be seen in the novel, there is no place for freedom of speech in the world. Every human being is living under surveillance; there is nothing to say private or confidential. One of the dialogues is, “Big Brother is watching you”. On this basis, the word ‘Big Brother’ later became a symbol of official surveillance in the English media.

How easy it has become to be a victim of surveillance can only be understood by listening to the talk of the former President of the United States. In an interview on March 16, 2016, Trump told German Chancellor Angela Merkel, “We have at least one thing in common. That is, both of us have eavesdropped on our phones”.

However, even if the incident of surveillance is easy to hear, only the victim can feel the misery of the victim. This misuse of technology is making the global human rights situation and the digital environment more and more conflicting. In this situation, technology is not a blessing for us, but a curse.

So to reap the benefits of modern knowledge and science, we need to overcome the ongoing conflict of human rights situation with the digital environment. Protecting people’s technical security and privacy should be the core of the cyber world. And to avoid its negative effects, we also need to have a thorough knowledge of technology. Above all, the practice of democracy in the right way can bring relief to the people by giving priority to the protection and establishment of human rights worldwide.

Arman Sheikh regularly writes on Geopolitics and International Relations