A recent New York Times article investigates how authoritarian states target citizens and dissidents with sophisticated spyware, developed within a secretive, multi-billion dollar industry. At the centre of this market is NSO Group, whose government-exclusive Pegasus spyware has been implicated in several high profile cases, including the arrest of El Chapo. But the spyware has also been used to target members of anti-corruption advocates, human rights lawyers, members of civil society, and the inner circle of slain journalist and dissident, Jamal Khashoggi.
Citizen Lab has written extensively on the abuse of commercial spyware around the world. Most recently, Citizen Lab research demonstrated how Griselda Triana, journalist and wife of slain journalist Javier Valdez Cárdenas, was targeted with Pegasus spyware in the days after her husband was killed in an alleged cartel hit. This marks the 25th individual known to have been abusively targeted by Pegasus spyware in Mexico alone. Despite numerous calls for increased due diligence and corporate social responsibility, companies like NSO Group and DarkMatter continue to sell spyware to government operators with poor human rights track records.