A week after the revelations by 17 media concerning the use of the Pegasus software of the company NSO, suspected of having been used to spy on journalists and heads of state, the Israeli Minister of Defense goes to Paris. He is due to meet with the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly to "keep her informed" of the latest developments concerning the NSO.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz is in 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 conduct a dialogue on strategic and security issues (...) He will keep the Minister informed on the subject of the NSO, "the Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

A list of 50,000 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.

An offensive cybersecurity product

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 on 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, Benny Gantz, ex-chief of staff of the Israeli army, is also due to discuss the situation in neighboring Lebanon, and the question of an Iranian nuclear deal to which the Hebrew state opposes, said its services.

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