While the Arab Spring unfolded in 2011, Hisham Almiraat, a doctor and activist from Morocco, was a member of a citizen journalism collective known as Mamfakinch. Together with his colleagues, Hisham was reporting and keeping the public informed about the protests in the streets, while the Moroccan state media blacked out. Mamfakinch and other similar initiatives, through blogs and social media, became primary sources of information for Moroccan citizens.
For their work, Mamfakinch also received awards, including the Google Breaking Borders Award. However, shortly after, members of Mamfakinch started receiving emails purpoting to be information about corruption in the Moroccan government, while in reality it was carrying a commercial spyware solution known as "DaVinci", developed by the Italian company HackingTeam. Years later, leaked emails belonging to HackingTeam proved that in fact the company had sold their surveillance technology to the Directorate for the Surveillance of the Territory (DST), Morocco's intelligence service, for more than 3 million euros.
Hisham faced trumped up charges of "destabilization of the security of the state" for his activism, and had to flee the country and seek asylum in Europe.