14 août 2022

ISRAELI SPYWARE 'PEGASUS' CAUSES WORLDWIDE SCANDAL

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Pegasus, an Israeli software, has created scandals around the world because of its feature that spies on the contents of a phone. It can retrieve messages, photos, contacts and even listen to calls once installed in a smartphone.

Pegasus is software created by a private Israeli company NSO and has caused a worldwide surveillance scandal.

While NSO claimed to be credible that its application is only meant to obtain intelligence against criminal or terrorist networks, major media outlets such as Le Monde, The Guardian, The Washington Post etc. published the opposite on Sunday.

This software has been abused for 5 years, according to Forbidden Stories. The list of numbers analysed by the consortium belongs to journalists mainly in India, Mexico, Morocco and France. Thus, apart from journalists, the numbers of human rights activists, academics, trade unionists, diplomats and politicians are filtered by Pegasus.

Several journalists and activists have been spied on

Their Consortium work is based on a list obtained by the French-based network Forbidden Stories and the NGO Amnetsy International. For example, since 2016, NSO clients have registered and monitored nearly 50,000 numbers. Now, according to the location analysis these numbers belong to at least: 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists and 65 business leaders. The countries concerned are Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

NSO's 11 client countries such as Morocco, India, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Togo, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Hungary and users of the Pegasus software were identified by the investigation.

France, on the other hand, is not a client of NSO, but several numbers of French journalists were spied on. French news website Mediapart announced on Monday that it will file a complaint. The phones of the two journalists were spied on by a Moroccan service using Pegasus software, according to reports.

The number of Dominique Simonnot, the general controller of places of deprivation of liberty was selected. Also, that of Bruno Delport, the director of TSF Jazz, that of Figaro editorialist Eric Zemmour and several others.

These statements are true or not?

According to reports published on Sunday, 37 devices were infected by NSO's spyware, including 10 in India. Two of these 30 phones belonged to women close to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered in 2018. The results are unreliable for the other 30 because the owners changed their numbers. "There is a strong temporal correlation between when the numbers appeared on the list and when they were put under surveillance," the Washington Post said.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal denounced these facts as extremely shocking and serious. "We are extremely attached to the freedom of the press, so it is very serious to have manipulations, techniques that aim to harm the freedom of journalists, their freedom to investigate, to inform," he added.

On the one hand, the company NSO denied that its software is a spy. It claims that Pegasus only collects data from mobile devices suspected of being involved in serious criminal and terrorist activities.

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Photo Credit : Marie France