Israeli software used to spy on journalists, activists around the world: report
On Sunday, a collaborative investigation involving more than 80 journalists across 4 continents revealed just how powerful spyware targeting governments is to journalists, activists and more.
The investigation was carried out by 17 media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Economist, Reuters.
NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, which is licensed to governments around the world, can infect phones without a click.
NSO Group, an Israeli firm, is a leader in the private spyware industry.
Reporters were able to identify more than 1,000 people through research and interviews on four continents: several Arab royal family members, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists and more than 600 politicians and government officials.
The consortium found several phone numbers in at least 10 country groups that were thoroughly analysed: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
In India, phone numbers of hundreds of journalists, activists, opposition politicians, government officials and business executives were on the list, as were numbers in several other countries in the region, including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Pakistan, The Washington Post reported.
The list features over 40 Indian journalists from leading outlets.
Meanwhile, the Indian government in its response said, “There has been no unauthorized interception by government agencies.”
Government of India’s response to inquiries on the ‘Pegasus Project’ media report. pic.twitter.com/F4AxPZ8876
— ANI (@ANI) July 18, 2021
As The Guardian reports, the NSO has long insisted that governments that have been licensed Pegasus are only contractually allowed to use powerful espionage tools to fight “serious crime and terrorism”. are obliged to.