The Washington Post said that the Pegasus spyware program faces intense scrutiny after a news report about the use of it by the Israeli police against Israeli citizens.
And the newspaper reported in
by its Tel Aviv correspondent, Shira Rubin, that most Israelis ignored Pegasus last July when the Washington Post and 16 media partners revealed that spyware provided by the Israeli "NSO" group had been used by governments to hack mobile phones. For journalists, diplomats and activists around the world.
But after a local newspaper reported last week that Israeli police were using Pegasus surveillance software without warrants to target political activists, mayors and other Israeli citizens, NSO was suddenly under scrutiny inside Israel by the public and the media.
The report indicated that Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said last week that he would launch an investigation into the case, adding that if the allegations published by the Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist were true, "it is difficult to overstate the seriousness of the alleged damage to basic rights."
Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, a senior fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, was quoted as saying that the earthquake "we've been waiting for" had occurred and a group of experts had begun lobbying for legislation to regulate surveillance technology.
Altshuler added that the Israelis did not really care about the use of these technologies by dictatorships in Africa, or in semi-dictatorships, such as Mexico or Hungary, nor did they care when it became known that they were being used against Palestinians.
The first targets inside Israel
Calcalist said last week that one of the targets of the Pegasus program was an organizer of protests against then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and was monitored without his knowledge.
The occupation police said that all police activity in this area is carried out in accordance with the law and on the basis of court orders and strict work procedures.
But Labor MP Gilad Karev made it clear to the Israeli parliament last week that the current legislation that allows police wiretaps and searches was designed in the 1980s at a time when no one expected the technological power of the tools available today, calling for stricter regulation.
The reporter said that since its founding in 2010, NSO has been the darling of local media and the envy of many startups in Israel, but it has sparked controversy in recent years for its involvement in helping authoritarian governments track down political activists.
NSO was blacklisted by the US government last November, and since then, the Israeli Defense Ministry has banned internet companies from exporting to all but 37 countries, down from 102, Calcalist reported.Keywords: