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How Israeli Pegasus spyware was used to spy on over 180 journalists in 20 countries — Report

By Kalu Nwokoro Idika

According to a new investigation, at least 180 journalists in 20 countries, including 30 in France, have been targeted for surveillance by clients of NGO Group, the Israeli company that sells the Pegasus spyware.

This company’s clients according to a report by Reporters Without Borders include autocratic governments such as those of Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Morocco and Bahrain, but all regions of the world are concerned.

Reporters Without Borders said the revelations about how this spyware is used inspire shock and revulsion, given the extent of the surveillance and targeting of journalists. No, NSO Group does not contribute to “global security and stability,” contrary to what the company claims.

Describing Pegasus as a vile and loathsome tool, invented by digital mercenaries and prized by “press freedom predators” for use in persecuting journalists.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said it began sounding the alarm about the spyware in 2017, notably after it was used to spy on Mexican journalists.

In 2020, Reporters Without Borders also said it branded NSO Group as a “digital predator” which contributed to WhatsApp’s lawsuit against the Israeli company in the United States.

It called on the justice systems in democratic countries to examine these shocking practices, to establish the facts and punish those responsible.

On Tuesday, the body further said it joined Omar Brouksy and Maati Monjib, two journalists with French and Moroccan dual nationality who have been targeted by Pegasus, in filing a complaint with the prosecutor’s office in Paris.

Reporters Without Borders said it will do everything to ensure that NSO Group is convicted for the crimes it has committed and for the tragedies it has made possible.

It also called for a free will donation in support of what the organization is doing. The general public was directed to make the donations with the provided web address, donate.rsf.org.

The Reporters Without Borders, RSF, hailed the quality of the investigations by the media outlets that cooperated in producing these revelations about Pegasus, and the information provided by ForbiddenStories, the Amnesty Security Lab and previously by CitizenLab.

 

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