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Report Says Israel Police Use NSO Group’s Pegasus To Spy on Citizens

The Israel Police have used the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to remotely access, control and extract information from cellphones belonging to Israeli citizens, the Israeli business daily Calcalist reported on Tuesday. Among those that have been targeted by police with the spyware are leaders of political protests against former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, local mayors, former government employees, and a person close to a senior politician, according to the report, which does not include any named sources. Calcalist also reported that the hacking was not done under court supervision, and police did not request a search or bugging warrant to conduct the surveillance. The Israel Police first acquired the Pegasus software in 2013. The police responded to the report calling it “untrue,” and said that it acts according to the law and the courts. NSO noted in a statement in response to the report that the company is not involved in the operation of the software after it is sold to a customer, and that it licenses the products “for the use of security bodies and state law enforcement agencies, to prevent crime and terrorism legally, and according to court orders and local law in each country.” NSO has come under scrutiny following reports that its Pegasus spyware has been used by certain governments around the world to spy on human rights activists, politicians and journalists.