After the revelations, the explanations.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is heading to Paris this week to "keep French authorities up to date" on the latest developments concerning the NSO, an Israeli cybersecurity company whose Pegasus software is suspected of having been used to spy Emmanuel Macron.
“On Wednesday, the Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, goes to France to meet the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, and to conduct a dialogue on strategic and security issues (…) He will keep the Minister informed about the NSO, ”the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
50,000 phone numbers
The Pegasus software is at the heart of a global spy scandal that has prompted the NGO Reporters Without Borders to demand a moratorium on its sales, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to demand more restrictions on the sale of these systems.
The organizations Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International obtained a list of 50,000 phone numbers, selected by NSO clients since 2016 for potential monitoring, and shared it with a consortium of 17 media outlets that revealed its existence last week.
Pegasus would have made it possible to spy on the numbers of at least 180 journalists, 85 human rights activists or even 14 heads of state including French President Emmanuel Macron - which NSO denies.
Regularly accused of playing the game of authoritarian regimes, NSO ensures that its software is only theoretically used to obtain information on criminal or terrorist networks.
Commission to the Israeli Parliament
Israel's parliament has set up a commission to investigate allegations that Pegasus spy software has been "misused" by some states to spy on personalities, a senior Israeli official said last Thursday.
Allowing to infiltrate computer systems, Pegasus is considered an offensive cybersecurity product and must therefore obtain the green light from the Military Export Control Agency (DECA), which depends on the Ministry of Defense, to be sold to third country, just like a weapon.
During his talks in France, Mr. Gantz, ex-chief of staff of the Israeli army, is also due to discuss the situation in neighboring Lebanon, and the issue of an Iranian nuclear deal to which the Hebrew state opposes, said its services.
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