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The parent company of Facebook and Instagram has revealed that they have banned seven “surveillance-for-hire” firms after spying on 50,000 users. They were hired by governments, law firms, and individuals to collect information and trick users to hand over personal information and install spyware on their computers. One entity was connected to China and used tools by Chinese law enforcement to spy on minority groups in Hong Kong, Myanmar, and Xinjiang. One tech expert said dictators are being pitched this surveillance technology and that it is essential that governments create regulations around this dangerous technology. “Otherwise,” he said, “it’s just gas on the authoritarian fire.”


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