Sixteen world editorial offices, including Le Monde, have gained access to more than 50 thousand phone numbers that could potentially become for the powerful Israeli spyware Pegasus. Digital weapons are used against journalists, lawyers, activists, and politicians in many countries.
The list includes the head of the European state and two heads of government; men and women at the highest levels of power in the former Soviet republic; dozens of opposition deputies from one African country; princes and princesses, business leaders, several billionaires, ambassadors, generals. And also, first of all, hundreds of journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders.
Le Monde, which is part of a consortium of 16 other editorial offices, gained access to about 50 thousand phone numbers that were used by spies.
Le Monde and a consortium coordinated by Forbidden Stories were able to confirm the authenticity of the data by crossing it with several other sources and identifying dozens of new victims of the software through extremely thorough technical analysis on their mobile phones, thanks to security experts.
Since its creation in 2011, the Israeli company has marketed its software as a crucial tool designed only to combat terrorism and organized crime.
In Azerbaijan, Morocco, or Rwanda, first of all, journalists, oppositionists, lawyers, and human rights defenders are the main targets of this sophisticated spyware. For many years, the NSO has stated that cases of political surveillance are isolated incidents. The information undoubtedly proves that these violations are the norm, not the exception.