The Israeli company NSO Group, again in the spotlight after espionage on a Human Rights Watch directive

In recent days more trouble has arisen for the Israeli company NSO Group, which distributes the Pegasus phone spy program around the world, and has already been involved in serious incidents who have made enemies for him everywhere, including the United States government, and whose future is uncertain.

The president of the Tel Aviv-based company has resigned this week in a risky attempt to save NSO’s reputation. Some investors are divesting themselves of their holdings but at least one American investment fund has shown interest in acquiring the company, apparently on the downside, an operation that for now has not materialized.

The latest mess broke on Tuesday, when the well-known non-governmental organization based in USA Human Rights Watch (HRW) He called on governments around the world to immediately cut off their relations with the Israeli company, which basically relies on engineers and employees who come from the army’s special espionage units.

HRW has verified that one of its most prominent employees has been spied on through the Pegasus program, and has joined the many voices that demand an international regulation surveillance technology, and particularly software that is installed on the devices of human rights activists and others doing work that some governments view as hostile.

For HRW this type of spyware should be prohibited

HRW states that they should programs like Pegasus to be banned worldwide and other similar, their sale, export and use, until governments guarantee respect for human rights, something that is currently far from being guaranteed.

The HRW employee who had her phone infected was lama fakih, director of the Crisis and Conflict Division and director of the HRW office in Beirut. Their devices were attacked no less than five times between April and August 2021 using Pegasus technology.

Software developed by Pegasus sneaks onto phones and once installed becomes a powerful tool capable of control calls, photos, videos, microphone, email, text messages, camera and other applications, so that all the contacts of the person who owns the phone are controlled.

Deborah Brown, digital rights researcher at HRW, said: “Governments use the spying tools developed by the NSO Group to silence human rights defenders, journalists and others who are subjected to abuses”. “Allowing governments to operate with impunity (…) not only undermines the efforts of journalists and human rights organizations to hold those in power accountable for their actions, but That puts them at serious risk.”

The aforementioned Lama Fakih, Lebanese and American, is responsible for the abuses committed by Israel against the Palestinians, as well as other conflicts in Syria, Greece, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and the US. HRW has been unable to determine who has worked so hard to infect the phone of your activist.

“It is no coincidence that governments use spy programs against activists and journalists who expose their abusive practices,” Fakih said. “They think that helps them consolidate their power, silence those who disagree and protect their manipulation of the facts.”

Just a few days ago the newspaper Ha’aretz published a list with all the victims of Pegasus, where among others there were 34 journalists from aljazeera, a Qatari channel that is especially critical of United Arab Emirates and Israel. in the list of Ha’aretz there were victims from different countries, including journalists, media professionals, human rights defenders, lawyers, activists and politicians, as well as drug lords from Mexico.

In July 2021, Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories, an organization based in Paris, revealed the infection of dozens of phones of activists, journalists and opponents in different countries, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, El Salvador, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all of which are closely linked to Israel.

This espionage technology is applied by Israel against the Palestinians habitually and for many years, but now it is expanding throughout the world, causing growing concern among human rights organizations.

Last week the Hebrew newspaper Calcalist published a report alleging that the Israeli police are using Pegasus technology against Jewish citizens, has unleashed it a considerable scandal. Calcalist mentioned the case of an unidentified man who has participated in activities against the former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Police had discovered through Pegasus that the man, who is married, uses an app for gay men.

In the last days Calcalist has published other similar reports that would indicate that the police are using Pegasus against Jewish opponents without the knowledge of the courts. The police categorically deny these extremes over and over again and the judicial authorities have opened an investigation to determine what is true in all of this.


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