Project Pegasus: Israel government raids NSO offices

Israeli government authorities have raided the offices of NSO Group following revelations by a consortium of media organisations that the surveillance software vendor’s Pegasus spyware was used by multiple governments around the world to snoop on public figures and opposition leaders among others.

The raids took place Wednesday.

An NSO spokesperson confirmed to Israeli news website ‘The Record’ that “representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Defence had visited their offices”.

“The company is working in full transparency with the Israeli authorities. We are confident that this inspection will prove the facts are as declared repeatedly by the company against the false allegations made against us in the recent media attacks,” the spokesperson added.

Recently, a global collaborative investigative project has revealed that the Pegasus spyware targeted over 300 mobile phone numbers in India, including that of Ministers in the Narendra Modi government, various Opposition leaders, a constitutional authority, and several journalists and business persons.

The numbers of Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel and Railways & IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also featured in the list. Amid massive uproar over the issue by Opposition parties, the government has denied allegations that the Pegasus spyware was being used to snoop on politicians, journalists and a constitutional authority. It has also called the report “sensational”, and an attempt “to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions”.

However, Amnesty International, which was part of the investigative consortium, had issued a statement debunking the government’s claims and said that it “categorically stands by” the findings of the investigation. “Amnesty International categorically stands by the findings of the Pegasus Project, and that the data is irrefutably linked to potential targets of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. The false rumours being pushed on social media are intended to distract from the widespread unlawful targeting of journalists, activists and others that the Pegasus Project has revealed,” the organisation said in a statement.

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