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German federal police acquired Israeli Pegasus spyware in secret – report

CM 07/09/2021 1


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The German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) purchased Israeli-made Pegasus spyware in 2019, German newspaper Die Zeit confirmed on Tuesday.
Pegasus spyware is produced by the Israeli NSO Group cyber company and recently came under heavy criticism when a report back in July suggested that the software had been used by authoritarian governments worldwide.
The report claimed that it had been used to hack 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, government officials, and human rights activists around the world.

A list of potential targets as set by NSO customers was then released by multiple sources shortly after, including by Die Zeit and Haaretz, which included French President Emmanual Macron. The NSO has denied any connection to the list, Haaretz reported, but Pegasus software has been found on several of the potential targets’ phones.
Additionally, Amnesty International sued to have NSO’s export license revoked in the Tel Aviv District Court back in 2019, but was unsuccessful after over 20 Defense Ministry officials testified to the court on how important Pegasus was to national security.
The software caused controversy long before this report came to light because it can spy on smartphones, made by both Apple and Android, in real-time, allowing conversations to be recorded, data to be collected, and bypassing the encryption on messaging apps, all without the user ever knowing.

Hackers and cybersecurity (credit: REUTERS)Hackers and cybersecurity (credit: REUTERS)

The software was reportedly purchased by the federal government in “utmost secrecy,” and the Interior Committee of the Bundestag was informed of the purchase in a “closed doors session,” Die Zeit reported.
According to German sources also speaking to the newspaper, the decision to purchase the controversial Israeli software came after the BKA failed to produce their own version of the software back in 2017. 
Contact was made with the NSO Group that same year, when, according to the sources, representatives of the company visited the police headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany in order to present the software and its capabilities.
The purchase has proven to be controversial, Haaretz reported, and has caused disagreements between the German Interior Ministry and BKA, who report to them.
This is due to the extensive capabilities of the software, Haaretz explained, which some say crosses over the limits of German law, which allows phone tracking only in exceptional circumstances.
To combat that, some functions were reportedly blocked, although it is unclear how, and to what extent this limited the capabilities of the spyware.
German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung confirmed that BKA Vice President Martina Link had reported the software purchase to lawmakers at the time, and since March 2021 it has been used in specific and select circumstances relating to terrorism and organized crime.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly said, after the list of potential NSO targets was leaked, that steps must be taken to ensure that the spyware does not fall into the wrong hands and that it must not be used unless it is subject to judicial review in countries in which it is used.

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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