An investigation by the Guardian has brought the NSO group “Pegasus” in the spot light. The investigation shows that Pegasus software for spying and surveillance has been installed on mobile phones of activists, politicians and journalists. The Guardian explains that Pegasus software was selected to be used on human right lawyers, activists and dissidents globally.
“Human rights lawyers, activists and dissidents across the globe were selected as possible candidates for invasive surveillance via their phones, leaked phone data suggests.”
The owners of Pegasus, stated that the tool is only supposed to be used to spy on terrorists and criminals. The spy tool itself is able to:
- Extract messages
- Extract Photos
- Extract Emails
- Record calls
- Active microphone on command
“NSO has repeatedly insisted that Pegasus is meant to be used only to spy on terrorists and serious criminals. The tool can extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones.”
According to the investigation done by The Guardian, one of the direct targets was ‘Loujain al-Hathloul, a prominent woman’s right activist in Saudi Arabia.
“It is believed Hathloul was selected by the UAE, a known client of NSO and close ally of Saudi Arabia.”
The owners of Pegasus, NSO, have claimed that they will remove clients that abuse or misuse Pegasus. NSO has stated that the leaked records are no evidence of Pegasus being used to target activists.
NSO has claimed it will cut off clients if they misuse Pegasus. In a response to the consortium, it denied the leaked records were evidence of targeting with Pegasus and said it “will continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action based on the result of these investigations”.
Some details that you might be interested in: