France

Pegasus case: international response in widely dispersed order



For his part, Emmanuel Macron asked, during an exceptional Defense Council, “a strengthening” of the security of sensitive means of communication, while the investigations continued in France after the revelations on the presence of the president’s phones. French among the potential targets of this system designed by the Israeli company NSO. As for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, she called for more restrictions on the sale of spyware.

The organizations Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International obtained a list of 50,000 phone numbers, selected by NSO clients since 2016 for potential monitoring, and shared it with a consortium of 17 media outlets that revealed its existence on Sunday.

Israel’s parliament has set up a commission to investigate allegations that Pegasus has been “misused” by some states to spy on public figures, a lawmaker revealed on Thursday.

Recourse to justice

Accused of having used Pegasus, Morocco has decided to attack Amnesty and Forbidden Stories before the Paris Criminal Court, its lawyer announced on Thursday.

The Shereefian kingdom has “mandated Mr. Olivier Baratelli to issue, as of today, two direct citations in defamation” against them. The trial is not expected to take place for about two years, however.

“The Moroccan state immediately intends to seize the French justice because it wants all the light to be shed on the false allegations of these two organizations which put forward elements without any concrete and demonstrated proof”, underlined Me Baratelli.

As of Monday, the Moroccan government defended itself by denying having acquired “computer software to infiltrate communication devices”.

Surveys

At the same time, the Moroccan public prosecutor’s office announced on Wednesday “the opening of a judicial investigation into these false allegations and accusations”.

In Hungary, “following several complaints, the prosecutor’s office (in Budapest, editor’s note) ordered that an investigation be carried out into the potential unauthorized collection of confidential information”, declared on Thursday the parquet.

The investigations aim to establish the facts and to determine whether a crime and, if so, which one, was committed, he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for more restrictions on the sale of spyware.

The international media consortium behind the Pegasus revelations has accused the authorities in that country of using this spy technology against Hungarian civil society.

300 smartphones of journalists, lawyers, elected officials or businessmen were targeted there, according to the Forbidden Stories network, a unique case within the European Union.

In Mexico, “all federal and state security agencies that may have software equipment to perform communications have been ordered to protect all their data in connection with the signing of a license agreement for Pegasus equipment and “other (equipment) similar”, announced Tuesday, the prosecution which opened an investigation on this subject.

According to the Aristegui Noticias news website, at least 15,000 Mexican telephone numbers have been registered in this system.

Official disclaimers

Saudi Arabia has dismissed espionage charges against it in the Pegasus case.

“An official denied allegations in the press that an entity in the kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) used software to monitor communications,” the official Saudi press agency SPA wrote on Wednesday, without specifying the name. of the software in question.

The United Arab Emirates, which, unlike Saudi Arabia, has officially normalized its relations with Israel, in turn rejected accusations of espionage on Thursday.

“Recent media allegations that the Emirates are among a number of countries accused of surveillance targeting journalists and individuals are devoid of evidence and categorically false,” the UAE foreign ministry said.

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