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Ethiopian police obtain phone-hacking technology from an Israeli firm: Report – Mereja

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Ethiopian police obtain phone-hacking technology from an Israeli firm: Report

Ethiopian police have obtained technology from Israeli digital intelligence company, Cellebrite to hack into cellphones of detainees, a report in the prominent Israeli newspaper, Haaretz claimed on Sunday.

According to the Haaretz.com, report, Ethiopian Federal Police have been using Cellebrite’s systems since 2021.

The flagship product of Cellebrite, is a technology called UFED, which is used by the authorities to hack into seized phones which are password protected. This in tun allows Cellebrite’s clients to download all the information stored on those devices, including media files and text messages, call histories, contacts and more.

Haaretz’s report also disclosed Cellebrite has sold its technology to clients in Russia, Belarus, China, Uganda, Venezuela, Indonesia, the Philippines and Bangladesh.

Journalists, activists, politicians and even ordinary Ethiopian citizens have consistently reported having their mobile phones confiscated at times of arrest. In many of these cases, Police have asked courts for case adjournments on the basis that it wants to get more information from the phones of detainees.

The Haaretz report in particular detailed the detention cases of Meskerem Abera, a YouTube based socio-political commentator and Solomon Shumye, a YouTube based journalist of possible cases of cellphone hacking technology being used by police.

However, the Haaretz report couldn’t confirm whether Cellebrite’s was used in the case of Meskerem and Solomon as well as other detainees cases.



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