When governments turn spyware on citizens

Protestor holding up a canister of tear gas
Protesters in Cairo use cell phones to photograph a tear gas container in 2011. Photo: Karimphoto via Getty Images

A new report shows that a military contractor has likely sold spyware to repressive regimes. But the study's authors and other experts differ on how to stop the problem.

The big picture: That study, released Tuesday by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, found that 36 surveillance networks used commercial militarized spyware made by the Israeli NSO Group.

Downing of Russian plane in Syria tests Netanyahu-Putin relationship

Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu stand side by side
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

An Israeli airstrike against an Iranian weapons cache in Syria last night has ended with the downing of a Russian military plane and the death of its 15 crew members.

Why it matters: The incident has created the most serious crisis between Israel and Russia since President Putin sent his army to Syria in September 2015. Israeli officials are concerned the incident will break the close coordination with the Russians in Syria and limit Israel's freedom of operation against Iranian entrenchment in the country.