International spyware scandal runs deeper than Pegasus


Much attention was paid to the bomb’s allegations that Israeli spyware could have been used to target journalists, opponents, and enemies of other nations this week, but the Pegasus scandal is private. Surveillance is just a microcosm of the bigger problem of governments using businesses.

On July 18, Guardian and 16 other media began publishing a series of articles on the Israeli-based NSO Group, with foreign governments using the company’s Pegasus software to reach at least 180 people worldwide. He claimed to have monitored journalists and numerous other targets.

Developed by a former member of the Elite Israeli Unit 8200— Comparable to the US National Security Agency — Pegasus software infects iPhone and Android, allowing operators to extract messages, photos, emails, record calls, and secretly activate microphones.

Possible targets for Pegasus surveillance include the murdered Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Indian opposition member Rahul Gandhi. Explicitly NSO Reject The software “was somehow associated with Jamal Khashoggi’s vicious murder.”

Allegations of NSO Group misconduct have been covered in the media for years. Facebook sued the NSO Group in US federal court in 2019 for exploiting WhatsApp vulnerabilities, allowing Pegasus users to spy on victims’ phones and messages, including journalists and human rights activists. This proceeding is 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, NSO Group argued that it should be exempt from sovereignty from civil proceedings.

However, while Pegasus was already publicly known, this week’s report questioned the NSO Group’s long-standing claim that the software was only intended to be used in counter-terrorism and other major criminal investigations. Is throwing. Guardians and other media have reportedly obtained a copy of the NSO Group’s target database, including a list of 50,000 phone numbers that clients may have monitored. This suggests the only way the NSO group did not know the identity of the client’s target. It was due to intentional ignorance.

The NSO Group continues to deny fraudulent activity, alleging that the media misinterpreted the data.

“NS [reports are] It is full of false assumptions and unsubstantiated theories that raise serious questions about the reliability and interests of sources. “Unidentified sources” seem to provide information that is far from reality and has no factual basis, “says the NSO Group. Said publicly. “After confirming their claims, we firmly deny the false claims made in their report. Their sources are clear from the lack of documentation to support many of their claims, as evidenced by the lack of documentation to support many of their claims. We have provided them with factual and unfounded information. “

“In fact, these claims are so exorbitant and far from reality that the NSO is considering defamation proceedings,” the Israeli company added.

Law enforcement agencies in France and Hungary have already begun investigating the use of Pegasus, and the Israeli Parliament’s Foreign Defense Commission has established a committee to investigate this issue.

Meanwhile, the Moroccan government has rebelled against some reports in Pegasus, claiming that Moroccan investigators have made false allegations that they have illegally used Pegasus to target senior government officials, two French-based organizations. He filed a defamation proceeding against him.

The Moroccan government “will not prevent punishment for multiple lies and fake news that have spread over the past few days,” a government lawyer said. Reportedly Thursday.

After this week’s coverage, the NSO Group could be angry, but NSO isn’t the only one operating to sell surveillance equipment to the government.Before the Pegasus scandal became a hot topic, Citizen Lab, a Canadian-based research group, report Regarding the Israeli company Candiru (named after the infamous fish known for swimming in the male urethra), the company claims to be engaged in many of the same activities as the NSO.

Also, private surveillance companies are not exclusive to Israel. In the United States, a company called Clearview AI was notorious last year after the New York Times reported scraping billions of photos to develop facial recognition software for national and national law enforcement agencies.That was also clearly Last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies purchased large amounts of data from private companies.

Legal scholars have raised concerns that surveillance companies pose a particularly annoying threat to US privacy because the Fourth Amendment to Surveillance restrictions do not apply to private sectors.

“A breakthrough protection announced by the Supreme Court if law enforcement agencies can purchase a way to circumvent the warrant requirements of Article 4 of the Constitutional Amendment. carpenter The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in an official statement last December. “Despite federal agencies spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on accessing mobile phone location databases, these agencies are publicly aware of the legal legitimacy and internal restrictions on access to this invasive information. Not explained to. “

US Senator Ron Weiden (D-Ore.) And Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Passed a law in April aimed at addressing some of the constitutional issues posed by new surveillance technologies. Introduced.their Article 4 of the Constitutional Amendment is the Not for Sale Law It will impose warrant requirements on government purchases of bulk data and deprive the US Attorney General of the ability to grant civil exemptions to companies that illegally sell bulk data to government agencies.

However, while Article 4 of the Constitutional Amendment has the bipartisan support of 19 co-sponsors, the bill has not yet been heard.