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Police in Israel have been using NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to breach citizens’ mobile phones, “Calcalist” reported this morning. According to the report, the surveillance of the suspects was carried out without a court order.

Among those under surveillance were leaders of the “Black Flag” protests against former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, mayors of Israeli cities suspected of corruption, and leading opponents of the Jerusalem Gay Parade, following the murder of Shira Banky in 2015.

The report says that the spyware was operated by a special operations team in the Israel Police’s SIGINT unit without any court order or judicial oversight.

“Calcalist” said that former Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino decided to buy Pegasus spyware from NSO and his successor, Roni Alsheikh, put it into operation.

The report says that the decision to track down Israeli citizens who were not criminals or suspects was made at the highest level.

Last summer, NSO was the subject of a wide-ranging investigation by Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, published alongside 17 newspapers around the world, including the UK’s “Guardian” and “The Washington Post”, which found that many regimes had used Pegasus spyware. for the surveillance of human rights activists, political opponents, journalists and even foreign governments. The US Department of Commerce has blacklisted NSO for acting against US national interests.

The cyberattack company NSO was founded in 2010 in Israel. Their Pegasus spy software is unique in that it can be downloaded onto a mobile device without the user needing to click on any external links. The Israeli Ministry of Defense only allows NSO to sell to foreign governments and each deal must be approved individually.

The Israel Police said: “Regarding the claims that the Israel Police allegedly use spyware, as published this morning in ‘Calcalist,’ we would like to put things into accurate perspective. There is no truth to the claims in the article published today. All police activities in this sector are in accordance with the law and are based on court orders and strict working procedures. In this field there are strong supervision and control mechanisms both inside and outside the organization. We regret this baseless attempt to harm police activities. The Israel Police will continue to work resolutely to enforce the laws of the State of Israel.”

Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said: “The Israel Police does not practice wiretapping or phone breaching without the approval of a judge.”

Posted by Globes, Israel Business News – es.globes.co.il – on January 18, 2022.

© Copyright de Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.


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