The Paris prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into the alleged malicious use of Pegasus spyware to target reporters and dissidents.
Two journalists and the French online magazine Mediapart filed complaints on Monday 19 June. recent revelations this surveillance software, created by the Israeli firm NSO Group, has fallen into the hands of autocratic regimes.
Military-grade malware can infect phones and other devices, allowing an operator to access messages, photos, and e-mail, and control the device’s microphone.
Although the NSO Group claims the Pegasus is only intended for use in democracies, information was leaked to the Paris-based non-profit Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International discovered that it had been sold to authoritarian regimes, with up to 50,000 mobile phone numbers on the target list.
Journalists working for the Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde and The Financial Times were allegedly selected for potential surveillance by NSO clients. At least five Hungarian journalists are believed to have been spied on.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the French justice ministry said the Paris prosecutor’s office is investigating a range of allegations, including “fraudulent access,” “fraudulent data entry,” “invasion of privacy,” “interception, redirection, use and disclosure of information. correspondence ”and“ sale without the permission of a technical device designed to collect data ”.
The investigation was entrusted to the French Central Office for Combating Crimes in Information and Communication Technology (OCLCTIC), a division of the judicial police.