Amidst calls for reform in Togo, NSO Group’s spyware was used to target voices for change including a bishop, priest, and opposition politicians.
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How do information controls impact different communities? Debates on Internet-enabled mass surveillance practices have increasingly dominated mainstream conversations, especially after the Snowden revelations. However, what is not as well documented is targeted surveillance operations against civil society that threaten their ability to hold governments accountable.
New York Times journalist Ben Hubbard was targeted with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware via a June 2018 SMS message promising details about “Ben Hubbard and the story of the Saudi Royal Family.” The SMS contained a hyperlink to a website used by a Pegasus operator that we call KINGDOM. We have linked KINGDOM to Saudi Arabia. In 2018, KINGDOM also targeted Saudi dissidents including Omar Abdulaziz, Ghanem al-Masarir, and Yahya Assiri, as well as a staff member at Amnesty International.
The May 2019 WhatsApp Incident As reported in May 2019, WhatsApp identified and shortly thereafter fixed a vulnerability that allowed attackers to inject commercial spyware on to phones simply by ringing the number of a target’s device. Today Oct 29th, WhatsApp is publicly attributing the attack to NSO Group, an Israeli spyware developer that also… Read more »
In recent days, United Nations Special Rapporteurs have released two revelatory reports that demonstrate the dangerous effects of unchecked technology in the hands of autocrats: one relating to the proliferation and abuse of surveillance software and one that investigates the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Both reports highlight the danger of unaccountable and unregulated surveillance technology sold to countries with egregious human rights records.
18 June 2019 Dear Yana and Stephen Peel, We write to you in light of recent reporting indicating that you both own a stake in Novalpina Capital LLP. As Yana Peel has recently expressed that she believes criticism of NSO Group is “misinformed,” we thought it appropriate to specifically draw Ms. Peel’s attention to the… Read more »
Given Novalpina Capital’s recent acquisition of NSO Group and the obvious human rights concerns raised by NSO Group’s business practices, Citizen Lab’s Ronald Deibert seeks a response from the South Yorkshire Pensions Authority regarding how its investment in Novalpina is consistent with the Authority’s Policy and what measures were taken by the Authority to inform and educate pension fund contributors and members regarding NSO Group.
Spyware developer NSO Group is usually quick to dismiss the evidence that its customers have abused its Pegasus mobile phone spyware. This pattern of denials was repeated in a recent 60 Minutes investigation, which gives a rare look into NSO Group’s management.
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.
The window of a murdered Mexican journalist was targeted with Pegasus, a spyware product which can secretly access the contents of a phone and turn on its camera and microphone.