On June 16, MediaNama conducted a telephonic interview with Etienne Maynier, a technologist at Amnesty International, who was part of the team that investigated the coordinated spyware attack against at least nine human rights activists in India, eight of whom have called for the release of eleven activists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case. Maynier had previously been a research fellow with Citizen Lab, the University of Toronto-based research lab that was also involved in this investigation. (Note that the questions have been reordered for readability but the answers are verbatim..) How and when the investigation started MediaNama: How did you start investigating this particular case, the one about Bhima Koregaon? Etienne Maynier: We were contacted by several people who received some weird emails and contacted us for help on that. And some people also contacted the Citizen Lab so when we discovered that we were actually investigating the same case, we said we would do a joint investigation and publication. That’s how we started investigating this case and trying to get more evidence and trying to understand the list of targets. MediaNama: When was this? Etienne Maynier: The investigation started in November 2019 after several people reached out to us. MediaNama: So just after news about Pegasus broke out? Etienne Maynier: I think it was definitely after the Pegasus case raised a lot of concerns in a number of countries including India. I think that human rights defenders were way more suspicious about emails and messages, and that is…
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