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French president demands Israeli inquiry into Pegasus spyware

French president demands Israeli inquiry into Pegasus spyware

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron has reached out to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet to demand that the government carry out a proper investigation regarding the allegations concerning NSO spyware Pegasus.

The French president and his ministers are among the alleged targets of the spyware. The tool can extract photos, messages, emails, and call records from the phone. It can also record calls and activate microphones.

The list of targets was released by a consortium of 17 international media outlets. The Pegasus project revealed that government clients across the world used Pegasus spyware to tap the phones of politicians, businessmen, journalists, and human rights activists.

The Pegasus project used forensic analysis of phones and a leaked database of 50,000 phone numbers. The list included officials of 34 countries - diplomats, military officers, senior government employees, and heads of states.

Macron, on his phone call, expressed concern that his phone and most of his cabinet may have been infected with Pegasus. The details of the call were reported by Israel's Channel 12 News on Saturday. The prime minister's office has not made a statement yet.

NSO group said that Macron was not a "target" of any of its customers and stated that the French president was not selected for any kind of surveillance using Pegasus, reported The Guardian. "The list is not a list of Pegasus targets or potential targets. The numbers in the list are not related to NSO Group in any way," said the company.

An anonymous source told Channel 12 that Bennet stressed that the events related to Pegasus took place before he took office in May. He also stated that a commission was examining the need for the nation's export of cyberweapons to be tightened.

Senior Israeli MP Ram Ben-Barak, a former deputy head of the Mossad spy agency, confirmed that the Israeli government has "appointed a review commission made up of a number of groups" to examine whether policy changes were needed regarding sensitive cyber exports.

Israeli defence minister Benny Grantz said that Pegasus spyware is designed for criminal and terrorism investigations. He added that the export licenses for the hacking tools come with certain demands to ensure that they are not misused. He claimed that "countries that purchase these systems must meet the terms of use," said The Guardian report.

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TAGS:French PresidentEmmanuel MacronPegasusSnoopingSpywareNSO
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