To date, Amnesty International has not provided scientific evidence to back its spying allegations against Morocco.
Rabat – Morocco is constantly trying to protect its citizens from malware, “in complete transparency,” which proves the fallacy of the recent Amnesty International’s report, said an official from the Moroccan Computer Emergency Response Team (maCERT).
The team conforms to international standards and is affiliated to the General Directorate of Information Systems Security (DGSSI), which reports to Morocco’s National Defense Administration.
“The entire framework of Amnesty International’s report fell apart like a vulgar house of cards when it became known that Morocco, which was never a digital jungle—to the dislike of Amnesty’s officials—acknowledged, back in 2011, the fact that smartphones became an integral component of citizens’ lives,” the official said.
Since 2011, Moroccan authorities have implemented “various protection and defense mechanisms to preserve interactive information systems that cause considerable economic, financial, and security-related damages across the country, if altered,” he continued.
DGSSI “is working hard to strengthen digital trust,” the same source added, revealing that since April 14, 2014, Morocco has issued “no fewer than 2,045 security advisories, warning citizens of the dangers of cyber-attacks and the negative impacts related thereto, especially personal data theft.”
The Moroccan government “has been pouring blood, sweat, and tears since 2011, not in spying on its citizens, but in raising awareness and protecting them against all threats that could affect the data on their computers, smartphones, or tablets, given that it relates to national security,” the official stressed.
According to the official, the journalist mentioned in the report “failed to update his iOS system, as recommended by the DGSSI, and continued, by his own admission, to browse unsecured websites known for harboring many malicious ads.”
“We should refrain from systematically and foolishly accusing the State of spying on us when we are reckless internet users,” the official concluded, saying that “we will not fall for Amnesty’s trick.”
Morocco World News contacted Amnesty International for comment on the DGSSI statement and received no immediate response.
Amnesty International’s report, which was shared with 17 international news outlets on June 22, accuses Moroccan security services of spying on journalist Omar Radi for over a year after infecting his phone with spyware.
The report prompted a response from the Moroccan government, rejecting its content on several occasions.
“The Kingdom of Morocco reiterates its full rejection of the latest report by Amnesty International, which operates under an agenda of its own, for reasons unrelated to the defense of human rights,” said Government Spokesperson Saaid Amzazi on July 2.
“The Kingdom of Morocco, which has been the victim to an unjust international smear campaign, insists on obtaining an official response from the organization on the veracity of physical evidence used against Morocco on this matter,” he continued.
The international organization responded to Morocco’s request for evidence in a letter that repeats the allegations without any scientific evidence to back them.
After three weeks of waiting for evidence, Morocco’s Head of Government, Saad Eddine El Othmani also reacted to the report.
“We, in the Moroccan government, are still insisting on providing us with a copy of the report of scientific expertise that was adopted to make these unfounded accusations, or publishing it to the public,” El Othmani said.
According to the head of government, the report is “full of expressions referring to hypotheses that contradict the standards of scientific expertise.”
Morocco’s request for tangible evidence led Amnesty International to push for international empathy, accusing Morocco of launching a “smear campaign” against it.
A press release issued on July 4 claimed that Morocco is seeking to “discredit” the organization instead of “engaging constructively with the findings” of its report.
Morocco World News attempted to contact Amnesty International for comment on the June 22 report several times. After five days and five attempts, Mohammed Abunajela, an Amnesty International media manager for the MENA, offered vague or evasive answers to three of our five questions.
Each answer either referred us to previous Amnesty International reports or pages on its website, or directly quoted its official website.
Our questions regarding the extent to which donors may influence Amnesty International’s mission and views of the countries on which it reports, and regarding AI’s response to the Moroccan government’s reactions to the June 22 report, went unanswered.