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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    The Pegasus Project - Spyware used to target activists, politicians and journalists.

    Human rights activists, journalists and lawyers across the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, according to an investigation into a massive data leak.

    The investigation by the Guardian and 16 other media organisations suggests widespread and continuing abuse of NSO’s hacking spyware, Pegasus, which the company insists is only intended for use against criminals and terrorists.
    Pegasus is a malware that infects iPhones and Android devices to enable operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones.

    The leak contains a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers that, it is believed, have been identified as those of people of interest by clients of NSO since 2016.
    Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based nonprofit media organisation, and Amnesty International initially had access to the leaked list and shared access with media partners as part of the Pegasus project, a reporting consortium.
    The presence of a phone number in the data does not reveal whether a device was infected with Pegasus or subject to an attempted hack. However, the consortium believes the data is indicative of the potential targets NSO’s government clients identified in advance of possible surveillance attempts.

    Forensics analysis of a small number of phones whose numbers appeared on the leaked list also showed more than half had traces of the Pegasus spyware.
    The Guardian and its media partners will be revealing the identities of people whose number appeared on the list in the coming days. They include hundreds of business executives, religious figures, academics, NGO employees, union officials and government officials, including cabinet ministers, presidents and prime ministers.
    The list also contains the numbers of close family members of one country’s ruler, suggesting the ruler may have instructed their intelligence agencies to explore the possibility of monitoring their own relatives.

    The disclosures begin on Sunday, with the revelation that the numbers of more than 180 journalists are listed in the data, including reporters, editors and executives at the Financial Times, CNN, the New York Times, France 24, the Economist, Associated Press and Reuters.

    The phone number of a freelance Mexican reporter, Cecilio Pineda Birto, was found in the list, apparently of interest to a Mexican client in the weeks leading up to his murder, when his killers were able to locate him at a carwash. His phone has never been found so no forensic analysis has been possible to establish whether it was infected.

    NSO said that even if Pineda’s phone had been targeted, it did not mean data collected from his phone contributed in any way to his death, stressing governments could have discovered his location by other means. He was among at least 25 Mexican journalists apparently selected as candidates for surveillance over a two-year period.


    The consortium’s analysis of the leaked data identified at least 10 governments believed to be NSO customers who were entering numbers into a system: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, India, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


    Analysis of the data suggests the NSO client country that selected the most numbers – more than 15,000 – was Mexico, where multiple different government agencies are known to have bought Pegasus. Both Morocco and the UAE selected more than 10,000 numbers, according to the analysis suggested.


    The phone numbers which were selected, possibly ahead of a surveillance attack, spanned more than 45 countries across four continents. There were more than 1,000 numbers in European countries that, the analysis indicated, were selected by NSO clients.

    Without forensic examination of mobile devices, it is impossible to say whether phones were subjected to an attempted or successful hack using Pegasus.
    NSO has always maintained it “does not operate the systems that it sells to vetted government customers, and does not have access to the data of its customers’ targets”.
    In statements issued through its lawyers, NSO denied “false claims” made about the activities of its clients, but said it would “continue to investigate all credible claims of misuse and take appropriate action”. It said the list could not be a list of numbers “targeted by governments using Pegasus”, and described the 50,000 figure as “exaggerated”.
    The company sells only to military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies in 40 unnamed countries, and says it rigorously vets its customers’ human rights records before allowing them to use its spy tools.

    The Israeli minister of defence closely regulates NSO, granting individual export licences before its surveillance technology can be sold to a new country.
    Last month, NSO released a transparency report in which it claimed to have an industry-leading approach to human rights and published excerpts from contracts with customers stipulating they must only use its products for criminal and national security investigations.

    There is nothing to suggest NSO’s customers did not also use Pegasus in terrorism and crime investigations, and the consortium also found numbers in the data belonging to suspected criminals.

    However, the broad array of numbers in the list belonging to people who seemingly have no connection to criminality suggests some NSO clients are breaching their contracts with the company, spying on pro-democracy activists and journalists investigating corruption, as well as political opponents and government critics.

    That thesis is supported by forensic analysis on the phones of a small sample of journalists, human rights activists and lawyers whose numbers appeared on the leaked list. The research, conducted by Amnesty’s Security Lab, a technical partner on the Pegasus project, found traces of Pegasus activity on 37 out of the 67 phones examined.


    The analysis also uncovered some sequential correlations between the time and date a number was entered into the list and the onset of Pegasus activity on the device, which in some cases occurred just a few seconds later.

    Amnesty shared its forensic work on four iPhones with Citizen Lab, a research group at the University of Toronto that specialises in studying Pegasus, which confirmed they showed signs of Pegasus infection. Citizen Lab also conducted a peer-review of Amnesty’s forensic methods, and found them to be sound.


    The consortium’s analysis of the leaked data identified at least 10 governments believed to be NSO customers who were entering numbers into a system: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Hungary, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


    Analysis of the data suggests the NSO client country that selected the most numbers – more than 15,000 – was Mexico, where multiple different government agencies are known to have bought Pegasus. Both Morocco and the UAE selected more than 10,000 numbers, the analysis suggested.


    The phone numbers that were selected, possibly ahead of a surveillance attack, spanned more than 45 countries across four continents. There were more than 1,000 numbers in European countries that, the analysis indicated, were selected by NSO clients.

    The presence of a number in the data does not mean there was an attempt to infect the phone. NSO says there were other possible purposes for numbers being recorded on the list.

    Rwanda, Morocco, India and Hungary denied having used Pegasus to hack the phones of the individuals named in the list. The governments of Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, the UAE and Dubai did not respond to invitations to comment.

    The Pegasus project is likely to spur debates over government surveillance in several countries suspected of using the technology. The investigation suggests the Hungarian government of Viktor Orbán appears to have deployed NSO’s technology as part of his so-calledwar on the media, targeting investigative journalists in the country as well as the close circle of one of Hungary’s few independent media executives.
    The leaked data and forensic analyses also suggest NSO’s spy tool was used by Saudi Arabia and its close ally, the UAE, to target the phones of close associates of the murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the months after his death.

    The Turkish prosecutor investigating his death was also a candidate for targeting, the data leak suggests.

    Claudio Guarnieri, who runs Amnesty International’s Security Lab, said once a phone was infected with Pegasus, a client of NSO could in effect take control of a phone, enabling them to extract a person’s messages, calls, photos and emails, secretly activate cameras or microphones, and read the contents of encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal.

    By accessing GPS and hardware sensors in the phone, he added, NSO’s clients could also secure a log of a person’s past movements and track their location in real time with pinpoint accuracy, for example by establishing the direction and speed a car was travelling in.

    Viktor Orbán using NSO spyware in assault on media, data suggests

    The latest advances in NSO’s technology enable it to penetrate phones with “zero-click” attacks, meaning a user does not even need to click on a malicious link for their phone to be infected.

    Guarnieri has identified evidence NSO has been exploiting vulnerabilities associated with iMessage, which comes installed on all iPhones, and has been able to penetrate even the most up-to-date iPhone running the latest version of iOS. His team’s forensic analysis discovered successful and attempted Pegasus infections of phones as recently as this month.

    Apple said: “Security researchers agree iPhone is the safest, most secure consumer mobile device on the market.”
    NSO declined to give specific details about its customers and the people they target.
    However, a source familiar with the matter said the average number of annual targets per customer was 112. The source said the company had 45 customers for its Pegasus spyware.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...-group-pegasus
    Last edited by Saint Willy; 19-07-2021 at 07:04 AM.

  2. #2
    Excommunicated baldrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    Apple said: “Security researchers agree iPhone is the safest, most secure consumer mobile device on the market.”
    I would say not - if security is paramount , then there are better options

    PinePhone Archives - PINE STORE

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Apple is good enough for me.

  4. #4
    Excommunicated baldrick's Avatar
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    is that because it just works ?

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Israeli mobile spyware is hardly a new thing. You can bet they had a hand in this.

    Elusive FinFisher Spyware Identified and Analyzed | Electronic Frontier Foundation

  6. #6
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    If it is for the good purpose, why not...

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klondyke View Post
    If it is for the good purpose, why not...
    Spoken like a true comrade, Tovarish!

  8. #8
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    ^^Damn, again forgotten to add a

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Reporters Without Borders demands Israel stop exporting spyware

    Demand comes after leaked list showed some 50,000 phone numbers, including that of journalists and politicians, believed to be chosen for surveillance by clients of Israel’s NSO group.

    NSO has contracts with 45 countries and says Israel's defence ministry must approve its deals [File: Kacper Pempel/Reuters]21 Jul 2021








    Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has urged Israel to suspend exports of spying technology amid allegations it was used to target more than a dozen heads of state and hundreds of journalists.

    Earlier this week a list was leaked of some 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been chosen by clients of Israel’s NSO Group for possible surveillance, according to an international reporting effort.
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    “Enabling governments to install spyware that is used in practice to monitor hundreds of journalists and their sources throughout the world poses a major democratic problem,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said in a statement on the Paris-based group’s website on Wednesday.
    “We call on Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to impose an immediate moratorium on surveillance technology exports until a protective regulatory framework has been established,” Deloire said.
    NSO’s flagship programme Pegasus can hack into mobile phones without users knowing, enabling clients to read every message, track a user’s location and tap into the phone’s camera and microphone.
    NSO has contracts with 45 countries and says Israel’s defence ministry must approve its deals.
    Reporting by media outlets including The Guardian, Le Monde and The Washington Post found that nearly 200 journalists were on the list.
    Pakistan leader Imran Khan was one potential target of surveillance by clients of the NSO group [File: B.K. Bangash/AP]The list was shared with news outlets by a Paris-based journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and human rights group Amnesty International.
    The leaked list was dominated by numbers from 10 countries – Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
    Those possibly surveilled included Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, and Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi.
    Spokespeople for NSO, Bennett and Defence Minister Benny Gantz did not respond to questions from AFP news agency on Wednesday.
    NSO is a giant of Israeli tech with 850 employees.
    Its CEO Shalev Hulio, 39, denied in an interview with Israel’s 103FM radio on Tuesday that his company was engaged in mass surveillance.


    He said NSO had “no connection” to the list of thousands of phone numbers.
    ‘Dozens of countries’ buying Israeli tech

    On Wednesday, Bennett touted Israeli technological prowess at a cyberconference in Tel Aviv.
    “Of every $100 invested in cyberdefence across the world, $41 of those were invested in Israeli cyberdefence firms,” he said.
    “We as a government, we as a nation, have to defend ourselves,” Bennett added.
    He suggested global interest in Israeli technology remained robust, saying “dozens of countries” signed memorandums to obtain Israeli tools that defend against cyberattacks.
    On Tuesday, Gantz said Israel approves export of technology only to governments “exclusively for the purposes of preventing and investigating crime and terrorism”.
    He said Israel is “studying” recent publications on the subject.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/...pyware-pegasus


  10. #10
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    India’s PM Modi accused of ‘treason’ over Pegasus spyware scandal

    Opposition accuses Modi of compromising national security following revelations that dozens of Indians were potential targets of snooping by Israeli-made spyware.

    At least two serving ministers in the Modi government also feature in the leaked database [File: Adnan Abidi/Reuters]By Bilal Kuchay
    20 Jul 2021








    India’s main opposition Congress party has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “treason” and compromising national security following revelations that dozens of Indians were potential targets of snooping by an Israeli-made spyware.

    More than 1,000 phone numbers in India were among nearly 50,000 selected worldwide as possibly of interest to clients of the Israel-based NSO Group, maker of the Pegasus spyware, an investigation by a consortium of media organisations revealed on Sunday.
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    The leaked list, shared with the news outlets by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based journalism nonprofit, and rights group Amnesty International, showed the identities of people targeted with more than 300 of those phone numbers in India, including politicians, dozens of journalists, businessmen and even two ministers in the Modi government.



    Play Video



    Indian media reports said Modi’s main rival, former Congress party president Rahul Gandhi, was among dozens of Indian politicians, activists and government critics identified as potential targets of the Pegasus spyware.
    “Is spying on India’s security forces, judiciary, cabinet ministers, opposition leaders including Rahul Gandhi, journalists and other activities through a foreign entity’s spyware not treason and an inexcusable dismantling of national security?” Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.

    Gandhi’s phone numbers, which he has since given up, appear to have been selected for targeting between 2018 and mid-2019, when the parliamentary elections were held in India.
    The Congress party on Monday demanded an investigation into the roles of Modi and his closest aide, Home Minister Amit Shah, in the scandal.
    “Our first demand is the immediate sacking of Minister of Home and Internal Security Amit Shah and a probe into the role of the prime minister in the matter,” Surjewala said.
    Among others whose phone numbers were reportedly targeted are a top virologist, a woman who had accused a former chief justice of India of rape, a former election commissioner who oversaw the 2019 national polls, and leading political strategist Prashant Kishor.
    What is the Pegasus Project?

    Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International had access to a list of tens of thousands of phone numbers worldwide that were potentially targeted by Pegasus spyware, and shared it with media organisations from different countries.
    While Forbidden Stories oversaw the investigation, called the Pegasus Project, Amnesty’s International’s Security Lab provided forensic analyses and technical support during the probe.





    Play Video



    Pegasus is spyware owned by NSO Group, an Israeli technology firm. It enables the remote surveillance of smartphones, secretly unlocks the contents of a target’s mobile phone and transforms it into a listening device.
    The firm claims the spyware is sold exclusively to “vetted governments” around the world to combat “terrorism” and other serious crimes.
    The company, which does not confirm the identity of its customers, has termed the Pegasus Project’s findings “exaggerated and baseless”.

    Though the Indian government has not accepted so far whether any of its agencies is using the spyware, the investigation suggests the widespread and continuing abuse of the hacking spyware in the country.
    Indian news website The Wire, along with The Guardian and The Washington Post on Monday reported that most of these individuals, including Gandhi, were targeted in the run-up to the 2019 national elections, which saw Modi return to power with a bigger majority than in 2014.
    The expose has caused a major political controversy in India with the Congress calling Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the “Bharatiya Jasoos Party” – “jasoos” means a spy in Hindi – and accusing it of listening to people’s “bedroom conversations”.
    Who all were targeted in India?

    Though it is not known how many of the phones on the list were targeted for surveillance or how many of those attempts were successful, The Washington Post said forensic analyses performed on 22 smartphones in India whose numbers appeared on the list showed that at least 10 were targeted with Pegasus, seven of them successfully.
    Among the Indians whose phones had been targeted with the NSO-owned spyware was Ashok Lavasa, the former election commissioner of India, who had faulted Modi for violations of the model code of conduct before the 2019 election.

    Also, at least 11 of those phone numbers belonged to a former Supreme Court staffer and her family. The woman, whose identity cannot be revealed for legal reasons, had accused former Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, of rape in April 2019 and was soon fired from her job.
    The expose said the phone numbers belonging to the woman and her family began to be surveilled the same week when her allegations against Gogoi were first reported. Gogoi is currently a BJP member of the Indian parliament.



    Play Video




    Also appearing in the Pegasus spyware list are more than 40 Indian journalists belonging to different news organisations.
    Vijaita Singh, who covers internal security for The Hindu newspaper, is among them. She told Al Jazeera that until a few days ago, she was not aware of any intrusion into her phone.
    “It was disconcerting and unsettling,” she said. “These days, our phones literally contain every aspect of our lives.”
    Journalist Ritika Chopra covers India’s election commission and education ministry for the Indian Express newspaper.
    She said she discovered that her phone number figured in a leaked list of potential targets of surveillance only last week after The Wire reached out to her, seeking a comment.
    “I was told that I was possibly targeted in 2019. I would not like to speculate on who is behind this. This is a breach of my privacy and freedom, but it will not affect my work as a journalist,” Chopra told Al Jazeera.
    Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, writer and former editor of Economic and Political Weekly, whose phone was also compromised, told Al Jazeera the expose has had a “chilling effect” on him.
    “It sends out a signal and a message to others that you can be snooped on,” he told Al Jazeera.
    Thakurta said a “very small section” of the Indian media is “actually playing the role of the fourth state and holding truth to power”.
    “Look at who these 40-plus journalists are? They are all journalists who have been critical of the government, so this is clearly sending a message that we can invade your privacy,” he said.
    What does the government say?

    At least two serving ministers in the Modi government – Ashwini Vaishnaw and Prahlad Singh Patel – also feature in the leaked database of numbers believed to be selected by clients of the NSO Group as potential targets for surveillance.



    Play Video



    Ironically, Vaishnaw, who was recently inducted as information technology minister, on Monday defended the government on the issue in the parliament, saying the expose was an “attempt to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions”.
    “In the past, similar allegations were made [about the use of Pegasus] on WhatsApp but there is no factual basis to these and have been categorically denied,” he said.
    Vaishnaw said “any form of illegal surveillance” is not possible with the “checks and balances in our laws and robust institutions”.
    Home Minister Shah alleged the Pegasus Project report published by the “disrupters” was timed to help the “obstructers” in the parliament as it began its monsoon session.
    “Disrupters are the global organisations which do not like India to progress. Obstructers are political players in India who do not want India to progress. People of India are very good at understanding this chronology and connection,” he said on Monday.
    In a statement on Monday, Access Now, an organisation defending the digital rights of global users, said it was outraged that products sold by NSO were allegedly “used to hack and invade the private communications” of thousands of people across the globe.
    Raman Jit Singh Chima, Asia Pacific Policy Director and Global Cybersecurity Lead at Access Now, told Al Jazeera that hacking is a crime, with no exceptions to be made even if it is directed by a government. He demanded that the Indian government must answer whether its agencies or security services were dealing with NSO.
    “Previous statements have evaded the question, and vaguely asserted that safeguards are followed to avoid overboard surveillance. This is clearly not the case,” he said.
    “The largest democracy in the world cannot be at the mercy of a shady, private company.”

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/...ooping-scandal


  11. #11
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Pegasus snooping: Pakistan probes whether PM Khan’s phone hacked

    Information minister says government probing whether premier’s phone was surveilled, after revelations from Pegasus Project show number in list.

    Imran Khan talks on a phone prior to a news conference in Islamabad in this April 11, 2016 photo [File: BK Bangash/AP]20 Jul 2021








    Pakistan’s government says it is investigating whether a mobile phone number once used by Prime Minister Imran Khan was part of a surveillance hacking attempt using the Pegasus software, the information minister says.

    On Monday, the US-based Washington Post newspaper reported that a number once used by Khan was among a list of hundreds of numbers potentially singled out using the Israeli firm NSO’s Pegasus cellphone infiltration and surveillance software.
    KEEP READING
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    Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Pakistan was investigating the possible hacking attempt and would raise the issue at unspecified forums if it is confirmed, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported on Tuesday.



    Play Video



    Earlier, Chaudhry had expressed concerns regarding the revelations from the Pegasus Project, a consortium of news organisations producing stories based on leaks of NSO’s internal documents.
    Reporting from the project showed that hundreds of rights activists, human rights lawyers, journalists, dissidents, political leaders, officials and others were potentially compromised using NSO’s Pegasus software, which the firm sells only to governments.
    Human rights group Amnesty International confirmed the hacking on 23 out of 67 phones subjected to technical analysis, with 14 others showing signs of attempted penetration.
    “Extremely concerned on news reports emerging from [UK-based newspaper The Guardian] that Indian government used Israeli software to spy on journalists, political opponents and politicians, unethical policies of [the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi] have dangerously polarised India and the region,” Information Minister Chaudhry said on Monday.
    While the data from the Pegasus Project is organised in clusters that would suggest use by individual clients, it does not reveal which client was responsible for the entry of which phone numbers.
    Analysis of the potential targets and correlation with known NSO clients led the project to identify 10 governments it believes to be responsible for surveillance of the list.
    Those governments are from India, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Hungary and the United Arab
    Emirates.https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/...n-phone-hacked




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    Pegasus: Princess Latifa and Princess Haya numbers 'among leaks'

    Phone numbers used by two Dubai princesses have reportedly been found as part of an investigation into the phone hacking spyware known as Pegasus.


    Princess Latifa is the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, and Princess Haya Bint al-Hussain is his former wife.

    In mid-February, BBC Panorama broadcast a secret video from Princess Latifa in which she said she was being held as a hostage and feared for her life.

    Princess Haya meanwhile fled Dubai in 2019 saying she feared for her life.

    The UAE has denied both women's allegations.

    Their numbers are apparently on a list of some 50,000 phone numbers of people believed to be of interest to clients of Israeli-based firm NSO Group.

    The list was leaked to major news outlets.

    The discovery of the princesses' phone numbers on the list - and those of some acquaintances - has raised questions about whether they could have been the possible target of a government client of the group.

    Human rights organisation Amnesty International has issued a statement alleging that the find implicates NSO Group "in the catalogue of human rights violations" inflicted on the two women.

    It calls for regulation to rein in "an unchecked surveillance industry".

    NSO has denied any wrongdoing.

    It says the software is intended for use against criminals and terrorists, and is made available only to military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies with good human rights records.

    The original investigation which led to the reports - by Paris-based NGO Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International - was "full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories", the Israel-based group said.

    The reports are part of a series of news articles suggesting thousands of prominent people have been targeted.

    A senior Israeli official confirmed to the BBC that the Israeli government had set up a team to examine allegations about the Pegasus software.

    Princess Latifa told the BBC this year that she was kidnapped and imprisoned after trying to escape Dubai.

    She said that after escaping the UAE and boarding a boat across the Indian Ocean in 2018, she was seized from a yacht and taken back to Dubai, where she says she was imprisoned in a villa converted into a jail.

    The story prompted an international outcry. After the UN demanded proof of life, Dubai's royal family said she was "being cared for at home".

    Princess Latifa has not been seen or heard from in months. Photos allegedly showing Princess Latifa in public and even travelling have appeared on an acquaintance's Instagram profile in recent months.

    Princess Haya meanwhile has accused her ex-husband of abduction, torture and a campaign of intimidation. A UK court published the allegations in a series of judgements last year.

    According to the documents, her marriage fell apart after she became suspicious about what happened to Princess Latifa, as well as another of her ex-husband's children, Sheikha Shamsa.

    She fled to the UK in April 2019 with her two children. The court heard last year that veiled threats from Sheikh Mohammed had left her terrified for her own safety, as well as fears that her children could be abducted and forcibly returned to Dubai.

    Pegasus: Princess Latifa and Princess Haya numbers '''among leaks''' - BBC News

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub View Post
    The list was leaked to major news outlets.
    This is a major story, and will keep going and going.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    This is a major story, and will keep going and going.
    Indeed, and it is distressing to know that as I type this Princess Latifa is being held prisoner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bsnub View Post
    Princess Latifa is being held prisoner.
    I thought she was free now?

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    The Pegasus Project - Spyware used to target activists, politicians and journalists.-traffic-jpg

    Pegasus Project: Why I am hesitant to defend the government but must



    July 21, 2021 by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR

    "The so-called Pegasus Project, which hit media headlines, has highlighted India in a clutch of countries where snooping of the telephones of citizens is widely practised as state policy.

    The Washington Post, which spearheaded the Pegasus Project, proposes to monitor the responses from these 10 select countries. Presumably, these are early days. In fact, Hungary, one of these 10 countries, has thrown the gauntlet down at WaPo posing some uncomfortable questions:


    “Have you asked the same questions of the governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany or France? In the case you have, how long did it take for them to reply and how did they respond? Was there any intelligence service to help you formulate the questions?” read more

    Very pertinent questions, indeed. Snooping is one of the oldest peccadilloes of man — as ancient as prostitution, perhaps. It becomes responsible voyeurism but a predatory state can abuse it. I will narrate an incident to reinforce this point.

    The year was 1992. About two months into my assignment as the head of the Iran-Pakistan-Afghanistan Division in the External Affairs Ministry, one afternoon I had an unannounced visitor in South Block who was in charge of India’s “counter-intelligence.” After pleasantries over a cup of tea, he put me at ease by coming straight to the subject to state that he had no business to transact with me but simply was curious to get acquainted with me.

    He said — I won’t mention his name out of great respect for my departed colleague’s rare integrity and moral fibre — the IPA Division fell in the ambit of his “charge”, given the high sensitivity of the work for national security. He said he wanted to meet me in person after listening to my phone conversations, watching my functioning and lifestyle and even digging into my past, sensing I was someone with whom he could walk with into the night.

    That was my first “encounter” in real life with snooping. It didn’t jolt me as we had just returned after the assignment in Islamabad, and snooping was taken as a fact of life in inter-state relationships.

    As time passed and my IB friend and I became close personal friends, I got to know things that I have no option but to carry to my grave. Now, all those shenanigans took place under Congress governments. Therefore, even if the present government indeed did all that the Pegasus Project alleges, it was only “business as usual”. This is one thing.

    Second, the questions that Hungary flung at WaPo are very relevant. The ex-DIA whistleblower Edward Snowden has reacted to the Pegasus Project calling for a global moratorium on the international spyware trade. read more

    But entrenched powers never abdicate. Knowledge is power and the power to blackmail or defang adversaries or act in real time gives decisive advantage. Without such advantage, US President Donald Trump couldn’t have possibly murdered Iranian general Qassem Soleimani or Barack Obama decapitated Osama bin Laden!

    The root problem is that national interests get arbitrarily defined by ruling elites. Obama thought it was in America’s “enlightened national interests” to tap German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s private cell phone. Clearly, snooping is not limited to autocracies or post-modern authoritarianism.

    Thus, selectively maligning Hungary and India is intriguing. Why so? The two countries are democracies with traces of post-modern authoritarianism, perhaps. Both are what American strategists call “global swing states.”

    Succinctly put, the global swing states are influential democracies that provide most significant opportunities for the US foreign policy in the early 21st century, since they possess the capability and legitimacy to bolster the interlocking web of norms, institutions, rules, and relationships that for six decades preserved peace among the great powers, fostered economic prosperity, and facilitated the spread of freedom.

    But the present global order confronts numerous challenges, some emanating from China’s rise and others from a diverse set of international developments. These challenges hold the potential to seriously fragment the international order in a way that the US and its allies will suffer the consequences.

    Hungary and India offer great potential as partners to extend the global order not only in their common commitment to democratic institutions but also in their growing economies and their geographical locations in their respective regions that is highly strategic. Therefore, the choices they make whether by way of taking on new responsibilities as Washington’s allies or their preference for free-ride could, in aggregate, decisively influence the trajectory of today’s world.

    This gives them a greater impact than their population or economic output might otherwise warrant and explains why they are prioritised in the US strategic calculus. If push comes to shove, Washington will not hesitate to use coercion or even “regime change”.

    Hungary and India are swing states with assertive nationalism. For the uninitiated, Hungary is the first European country to use China’s the COVID-19 vaccine Sinopharm, and it recently signed an agreement to open a Chinese university campus in Budapest by 2024, which would make the Shanghai-based Fudan University the first Chinese university campus in Europe.

    Sinopharm is an effective vaccine and is readily available, and China is open to technology transfer. Hungary plans to produce Sinopharm vaccine locally in a big plant being set up at a cost of US$193 million in the eastern town of Debrecen that would make the country self-sufficient in vaccine production from next year at vastly more economic terms than if it were to import Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, etc.

    Fudan ranks among top 100 world universities and will help raise the standard of higher education in Hungary, providing courses to 6,000 students and the $1.8 billion project will be met through a $1.5 billion loan from a Chinese bank.

    Hungary calls this the strategy of “Eastern Opening”, which favours increased cooperation with countries like China and Russia. Clearly, there is disquiet that Hungary is transforming as “a kind of advanced bastion of Eastern great powers in the European Union.” The US Embassy in Budapest expressed reservations over the Fudan university coming to Hungary “given Beijing’s proven track record of using academic institutions to advance a malign influence agenda and stifle intellectual freedom.”

    Again, last year, Hungary negotiated a $2 billion loan from China’s Exim Bank for the construction of a railway line between Budapest and Belgrade, as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Hungary also hosts Huawei’s largest supply centre outside China!
    The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has maligned western powers for engaging in “liberal imperialism” and his right-wing populism has become a serious obstacle to EU cohesion and US-EU consensus over China.

    Of course, Prime Minister Modi has been tactful and took the “Chanakyan” route, but his pursuit of independent foreign policies generates an anxiety syndrome in the American mind. What annoys Washington is that unlike Orban, who is openly defiant, Delhi followed an overtly pro-American foreign policy that convinced the folks in the Beltway that they nettled a crucial global swing state in “Indo-Pacific”. read more

    Under EAM S. Jaishankar’s watch, India did go out of the way to harmonise with Washington. Former US President Trump pointedly named Jaishankar at the “Howdy Modi” mega event in Houston for making profound contributions to US-Indian partnership.

    But then, in the multipolar world setting in the Age of Internet, Chanakyan diplomacy has limitations. Washington will not allow Delhi to wriggle out of its embrace, and has lately begun to taunt Modi Government, knowing the latter’s sensitivity to its international “image”.

    The recent hype in India’s ties with Russia, especially the welcome for Sputnik V vaccine, and the high level meetings through 2021 to give swagger to the special partnership would have set alarm bells ringing in the Beltway. read more

    Despite sustained efforts by the US lobbyists in the media to turn the pitch of Sino-Indian tensions into hostile mode, Delhi walks the fine line. India’s ambivalence on QUAD is plain to see. There is no progress on the trade and economic agenda for advancing Biden’s Keep America Great project. The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scrambling to visit Delhi.

    Delhi is not performing as a swing state to strengthen Washington’s dual containment of Russia and China. Sure thing, the Empire strikes back! WaPo, Guardian, Amnesty, etc. are old cold-war era flagships. WaPo is reputed to be wired into the US intelligence establishment.

    India’s tragedy is, alas, it is a divided house today. Large sections of opinion are averse to saying a nice word about Modi Govt, especially progressive forces who can otherwise sense the hidden agenda behind the Pegasus Project to pressurise India. "

    https://www.indianpunchline.com/pega...ment-but-must/
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Despite sustained efforts by the US lobbyists in the media to turn the pitch of Sino-Indian tensions into hostile mode,
    Yeees, oh no. It's the US causing the tensions in the Himalayan mountains.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    tensions in the Himalayan mountains
    Thank you for your reply. Any comment on my last post?

    I will presume that you have some knowledge linking telephone spying to "the Himalayan mountains" that maybe of interest?

    Care to share it, if you can gain permission?

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat Saint Willy's Avatar
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    waffling twat, buzz orf.

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    I'll assume that's a no.

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    Reporters Without Borders demands Israel stop exporting spyware
    Maybe "reporters" should report news and not get overly involved in politics and opinions and becoming involved in activism.?

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    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VocalNeal View Post
    Maybe "reporters" should report news and not get overly involved in politics and opinions and becoming involved in activism.?
    So like when a reporter does a story about government violence against protestors in Myanmar you mean?

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    Hungary prosecutors open investigation into Pegasus spying claims

    Move comes after media reports claim Hungarian journalists, lawyers and critics of PM Viktor Orban targeted by spyware.

    Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government has said it is not aware of the surveillance activity seemingly linked to Budapest reported in international media outlets in recent days [File: Darko Vojinovic/AP]22 Jul 2021








    Hungarian prosecutors have opened a probe into suspected unlawful surveillance following multiple complaints in the wake of allegations of misuse of the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware.

    The Budapest Regional Investigation Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement on Thursday that the investigation would examine “the so-called Pegasus case, under the suspicion of the crime of gathering unauthorised secret information”.
    KEEP READING
    Israel launches commission to probe Pegasus spyware: LegislatorPegasus surveillance: PSG boss al-Khelaifi’s numbers ‘targeted’France’s Macron among potential Pegasus spyware targets: ReportFrench prosecutor opens probe into Pegasus spyware allegations

    “The task of the investigation is to establish the facts and to determine whether and, if so, what crime has taken place,” it added.
    The probe came after an investigation published on Sunday by a coalition of media organisations claimed the Pegasus spyware made and licensed by Israeli company NSO had been used by governments in several countries around the world to infiltrate the smartphones of potentially thousands of people.
    Hungary was the only European Union country listed as a potential user of the software.



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    The Hungarian investigative website Direkt36, part of the media consortium that published the expose, said a list of more than 300 Hungarian phone numbers suspected to have been targeted using the software included those of journalists, business people, lawyers and people critical of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government.
    The reports did not identify the parties alleged to have deployed the spyware, but critics have long accused Orban, a self-styled “illiberal”, of undermining basic rights such as press freedoms since he assumed office in 2010.
    Budapest dismisses allegations

    Hungarian police said this week they had received two complaints about the alleged abuses, one from a private individual and one from a politician.
    But Hungarian officials have dismissed the allegations made in the media reports, calling them “unsubstantiated”.
    On Monday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the government was not aware of the surveillance activity reported in international media, adding that the Information Office, an intelligence agency under his supervision, had not used Pegasus.
    Interior Minister Sandor Pinter said Hungary “has always acted in accordance with the law”.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/22/hungary-prosecutors-open-investigation-into-pegasus-spying-claims


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