Pegasus: One totalitarian center dismantles the other

Israel’s NSO and Pegasus Are a Clear and Present Danger to Democracy Around the World

By Eitay Mack
Haaretz, July 21, 2021
“The violation of Israeli settlers’ right to ice cream”: The Ben & Jerry’s “outrage” is what most of Israel’s media, government and the Israeli public have been obsessing over for the last 24 hours, while in the rest of the world, newspapers headlines have been publicizing Israeli surveillance company NSO’s complicity in the political persecution of journalists, lawyers, politicians and human rights activists.
Since 2017, when NSO‘s involvement in political persecution in Mexico was exposed, there has been a steady flow of investigations around the world into its other human rights violations, and every few months more findings have been published.
And in Israel, there was, and is, general indifference, both in the public square and in the political sphere.
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Pegasus scandal turns spotlight on Israel’s controversial military tech sector

By Yossi Melmanin
21 July 2021
The latest revelations that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware is responsible for repeated worldwide violations of human rights and abuses of power are a huge embarrassment for Israel’s new government.
Following the news that a list of 50,000 numbers belonging to journalists, activists and senior officials targeted by the spyware has been uncovered, an interdisciplinary crisis management team consisting of the Mossad espionage agency and the defence and foreign ministries has been established to respond to the scandal.
But it seems that the response is too little, too late. More dramatic action is needed to clear the poisonous atmosphere, which has led to EU leaders expressing their concern about the intrusive Israeli tools.
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U.S. Lawmakers Demand Action After Spyware Allegations Against Israeli NSO

By Ben Samuels
WASHINGTON – U.S. lawmakers are growing increasingly alarmed by reports that the Israeli firm NSO Group leased military-grade spyware to authoritarian regimes around the world, who allegedly used it to hack the phones of politicians, journalists, human rights activists and business executives.
Rep. Tom Malinowski, who has been at the forefront of demands that Saudi Arabia be held accountable over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, told Haaretz that he is considering legislation aimed at regulating the private spyware industry.
“I’ve been following this for a while, so I’m not at all surprised that the reporting has uncovered evidence of what any rational person would have assumed to be true given the NSO Group’s client list and potential uses of sensitive technology,” the New Jersey Democrat said.
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