Quick thread with some real talk re: phone hacking etc. The reality is that Pegasus is just the one that got caught. It's pretty sophisticated, but it's not the only hacking tool/cyber weapon out there. The US, several European countries, China, Iran, etc all have their own
The reality is that if a state actor wants to get into your devices - *yours* specifically - and they're willing to spend enough time and resources, it's likely that they'll get in eventually. It's not inevitable, and you shouldn't be cynical about your security, but this is fact
You can make it harder, you can make it brief, you can make the info they steal less intelligible or less useful. But eventually you have to contend with the possibility that they'll get in one way or another. Which is why we have to talk about *what* they're trying to get on you
Getting into your phone is only half the story. Once they're in, what are they gonna do? They could live-surveil you, which is bad enough - but this is normally reserved to the highest-value targets. Most likely they'll download enormous amounts of data from your device
I mean of course the most dangerous kind of hacking is when they're surveilling you in order to physically harm you. Some people are in that very unenviable position. But luckily very few people are. I was in that position but thankfully I'm under protection in Norway.
But for most people - 99% of people out there - they're not trying to kill or capture or assault you. They're trying to get into your devices in order to get information - conversations, contacts, chat logs, files, pictures, documentas, etc. That's basically several GB's of data.
Which is where they'll face this problem - who's gonna make sense of all the gigabytes of data? If they know specifically what they're looking for, that's one thing. But if they just want to get in and look around, they need *good analysts*. Not all intel services have those.
All of this is to say - it's not enough to try to prevent the hack. It's necessary but not sufficient. You must figure what info is most damaging or sensitive to you and what info your adversaries are most likely to look for. Then make that info hard to find, understand, and use
You know your own work, your own plans, your own connections, your own projects. You also know your own vulnerabilities and what is most likely to hurt you. You also know your adversaries and what they care about. Create a plan that works for you. Create contingency plans too.
Make a list of the top ten most damaging pieces of info they can get on you, how to protect them, and what to do if they leak. Make a list of your adversaries and what they're most likely to be looking to get on you, how to protect that info, and what to do in case they get it
For highly sensitive stuff, your most trusty friends are a paper notepad and a non-smart phone. It's kinda nuts but to defend against high tech cyber weapons, sometimes the best thing to do is to go low-tech/no-tech. Working on something sensitive? Use a paper pad and a landline.
All of this shouldn't *replace* good digital hygiene and a common sense plan to try and prevent the hack (or make it more difficult, or make it brief, or make it more likely to discover). I'm just saying, also think *what if they get in*. That should be part of your plans too.
Final note - journalists and activists living in safe countries, please *protect your sources who do not*. A major target for dictators when they hack our phones is to figure out who our sources are and who they can arrest. Spend enough time figuring out safe communications.

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More from @iyad_elbaghdadi

18 Jul
Exactly this. Last year @haaretzcom even reported that Israeli intelligence officers were enlisted to help analyze the gigabytes of data stolen by NSO's Emarati, Saudi, and Bahraini clients: haaretz.com/middle-east-ne…
From the above link: "Recently NSO hired Israeli military veterans to provide intelligence analyses in light of the Gulf states’ difficulties in producing high-quality information out of the flood of files and messages on the target devices"
Or let me say it this way: Nobody should assume that NSO isn't getting everything that its "clients" are getting, or that the Mossad isn't getting everything that NSO is getting.
Read 4 tweets
6 Jul
Lapid in 2013: "How can Israel say that everyone is equal before the law, when the law defines Judaism as the cultural, national, and legislative basis for the state?" He knows this is racist. But he is also a politician, and voters get the politicians they deserve
Israel is an essentially racist entity and a majority of its electorate vote for racists time after time after time. You will not get a duly elected Israeli government that is anything other than racist.
The most amazing thing about Israel is how a country that is so deeply and brutally racist has for 70+ years been able to build an international reputation as a liberal secular state
Read 4 tweets
3 Jul
I was too used to looking at the present moment with a very narrow scope, kinda like using a slide ruler that covers +/- 2 years from now. Everything changed when I started to look at +/- 20 years instead. It's a reprogramming that took maybe two years, but it changed everything.
If you really think about it, 20 years isn't a very long time. In the scope of history, 20 years is a blink of an eye. Yes it's a significant chunk of a human being's life, but most people will live through three or four 20-year chunks. Strategically, it's enough time for a plan.
I used to carry out my work thinking I should stop things from happening in 1-2 years, or make things happen in 1-2 years. But once you're thinking 20 years this changes. You can wait for things to run their course. You can plan far ahead. You can take your time getting it right.
Read 4 tweets
14 Jun
There's this interesting overlap between Muslim traditionists and right-wing conservatives who both dislike the social justice movement, critical theory etc because they want to preserve traditional epistemology (and whether they admit it or not, traditional power structures)
The present moment should be read within the context of the present moment. Borrowing the intellectual tools or classifications of another era in order to understand the present moment may be an interesting intellectual exercise, but is ultimately nothing more than that.
Our ideas are a reflection of our lived experiences. It is shortsighted and unwise to try to interrogate the ideas and their intellectual history only, instead of looking at the lived realities that have made certain different segments of the population adopt different ideas.
Read 4 tweets
14 Jun
This morning I received a text asking me to book a time for my covid-19 vaccine shots. I selected the time but then I couldn't actually book, because it requires BankID which as a Palestinian in Norway I cannot have. *I cannot book my vaccine appointment because I'm Palestinian*.
Been trying to call by phone. Nobody answers.
I finally got through to someone. My vaccine appointment was cancelled. No word on when I'll get a callback for a new appointment.
Read 5 tweets
13 Jun
There are many people in the West who view the existence of Israel in & of itself as more important than anything that happens to the Palestinians, and will continue to view our fate as being of secondary importance. Many of them simply cannot be convinced otherwise.
Yes some of this comes from religious dogma, but also, a lot of it is simply the deeply/emotionally held political instinct of a generation that grew in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust. They'd rather if Israel exists than doesn't exist, regardless the cost.
As hinted, this is generational. When you see that the older Western voters are, the more supportive they are of Israel (and vice versa), this is what you're seeing. The long shadow of the Holocaust, which was, I remind, a Western crime.
Read 14 tweets

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