Pegasus spyware seller responded to media backlash over the program’s involvement in hacking innocent journalists, politicians and innocent people: “criticising a car manufacturer when a drunk driver crashes”.
NSO Group is facing unprecedented backlash and massive criticism over its involvement in hacking innocent people’s phones.
The Guardian, Forbidden Stories and other media partners opened an investigation into alleged Pegasus hacking of over 50,000 phones of influential people, including journalists, critics of governments, rulers, and innocent people. The investigation ruled out that there is irrefutable proof that the spyware was used to extract photos, data, locations of the victims and secretly activate microphones and cameras.
The Israeli company NSO Group said that the spyware is intended to be used against criminals and terrorists.
However, the Forbidden Stories media outlet published dozens of stories based around the list, including the allegation that French President Emmanuel Macron’s number was on it and may have been targeted.
NSO Group had been accused several times earlier of allowing a repressive regime to use the spyware against innocent people, including the fiancée of murdered Jamal Khashoggi.
NSO Group denied the allegation.
A few months ago, Aljazeera produced a length documentary on spyware in which it accused repressive regimes such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia of using the Israeli program of hacking phones of critics of the government and human rights activists.
Lebanese journalist Ghada Owais, a prominent anchor for Aljazeera, filed a complaint in US courts against Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to use spyware to hack her phone, extract private photos, and circulate them online.
Lara Hamidi, a researcher at ImpACT International, a London-based human rights think-tank, told Europe Brief News, “Repressive regimes are using NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to intimidate opposition and blackmail critics of the governments.”
“The EU courts have a legal liability to investigate crimes of piracy and surveillance committed by repressive regimes against journalists and critics.”