Israel police reportedly use Pegasus spyware on country’s own citizens, without warrants

CyberTech

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It’s being reported today that Israel police are using NSO’s Pegasus spyware on the country’s own citizens, including opponents of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. NSO had previously claimed that Pegasus would not be used within Israel.

The phone hacks are said to have been carried out without warrants and without any judicial oversight.

Calcalist reports.
Israel police uses NSO’s Pegasus spyware to remotely hack phones of Israeli citizens, control them and extract information from them, Calcalist has revealed.

Among those who had their phones broken into by police are mayors, leaders of political protests against former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former governmental employees, and a person close to a senior politician.

Calcalist learned that the hacking wasn’t done under court supervision, and police didn’t request a search or bugging warrant to conduct the surveillance. There is also no supervision on the data being collected, the way police use it, and how it distributes it to other investigative agencies, like the Israel Securities Authority and the Tax Authority.

One of the problematic instances that has been uncovered is the tracking of activists in the protests against former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while he was still in office.

In some cases, the hacks were for criminal investigations – though the police took steps to hide the source of their evidence.

[Pegasus] was used, for example, by the police’s SIGINT unit in order to search for evidence of bribery in the cellphone of serving mayor, during the stage in which the investigation was still confidential. The remote hacking delivered in this instance evidence of criminal offenses. This evidence was later whitewashed as intelligence and was followed by an open investigation. At this stage, the evidence already known to police was legally seized with a search warrant provided by a judge.
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shmu26

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It's interesting to note that the spyware was used on a well-known Israeli citizen by the name of Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, who is currently undergoing a widely publicized trial, the results of which will decide his political future, and hugely influence Israeli politics in general.
So the real surprise is not the actual use of spyware, which we may assume is a common occurrence in today's world, but rather that it was discovered and publically revealed. This could potentially invalidate part of the prosecution's evidence and thus influence the trial.