Human Lives Human Rights: The Spanish investigation into the Pegasus spyware, developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, which allegedly targeted the phones of Spain’s Prime Minister and other ministers, has faced obstacles due to Israel’s lack of cooperation.
The alleged lack of cooperation from Israeli authorities in the Spanish criminal investigation is indicative of the impunity surrounding the misuse of spyware and cyber-surveillance technology. The fact that the Israeli authorities have not even engaged with Spain’s highest criminal court highlights the inadequacy of supposed avenues for addressing violations by the spyware industry.
Additionally, this case reveals the flawed and hands-off approach to the international regulation of cyber surveillance systems.
States, including the European Union, should not permit companies to freely export these potentially harmful technologies worldwide and then evade responsibility when they are unlawfully and dangerously misused.
It is an undeniable reality that highly intrusive spyware presents a genuine threat to the privacy and security of individuals. It has emerged as the preferred tool for governments aiming to silence journalists, target activists, and suppress dissent, thereby endangering numerous lives. Immediate action must be taken to prohibit its use.
According to The Guardian’s report on Tuesday, a Spanish judge who was investigating the hacking of phones belonging to senior Spanish government officials, including Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, by the Israeli company NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware, has temporarily closed the investigation due to a complete lack of cooperation from Israel.