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US Senator: Saudi Arabia uses technology to crackdown on dissidents

January 29, 2020 at 11:11 am

Logos of popular social media apps on 12 January 2020 [Raşit Aydoğan/Anadolu Agency]

A member of the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Menendez, accused Saudi Arabia of using technology to crackdown on dissidents.

“As we have seen from the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the detention and torture of activists, and the alleged use of former Twitter employees to spy on dissidents, the Saudi government has a troubling record of using technology to repress dissent,” Senator Menendez said in a letter sent to the State Department last week.

The senator called for answers to the allegations that the Saudi government had hacked and attempted to extort Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post.

UN expert: Saudi crown prince behind hack on Amazon CEO

The Senator also called for details about Riyadh’s attempts to target US government officials and about the department’s plans to mitigate these risks.

“The apparent use of spyware to gain unauthorised access to the data of a US citizen by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia raises fresh concerns about the ability and willingness of the Saudi government to use technology to subvert US national security interests,” he added.