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Snowden: “Stop What You’re Doing And Read This! The Story Of The Year.”

Edward Snowden shared one shocking message, the person who shared a large amount of classified data from the National Security Agency back in 2013.

More than 190 journalists, 600 politicians and government officials, 65 business executives, 85 HR activists, and a couple of state heads are in trouble from authoritarian governments who have resorted to software, spy company Pegasus from the NSO Group, an Israeli Company.

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Seventeen international newspapers conducted the investigation, among which were the Washington Post and the Guardian. The investigation was based on the info got from the Paris-based non-profit journalism organization Forbidden Stories together with the rights group Amnesty International. The NGO’s Security Tech Lab stated that the malware was installed on Hatice Cengiz’s phone. She’s Khashoggi’s girlfriend, and it was inserted four days prior to his assassination.

The Israeli company NSO Group’s spyware “is used to facilitate human rights violations globally and on a massive scale.”

The Israeli company is the world’s most famous hacking organization, and Pegasus is the group’s flagship spyware. The military-grade software is used to provide an option for the government to penetrate networks of terrorists and criminals. It is also malware, infecting iPhones and Android smartphones so those who operate it have access devices and extract messages, photos, emails, etc., and can turn on the microphone and camera without the owner being notified or aware of it.

NSO Group refuses the allegations that data was leaked from their service and called the Forbidden Stories report “full of erroneous assumptions and unconfirmed theories.”

Ten countries minimum are involved in the Pegasus affair as NSO consumers, and among them are Hungary, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, India, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda.

As international newspapers want to emphasize, the mere presence of telephone numbers in the Pegasus database, which has more than 50,000 contacts, doesn’t mean that all of them are spied on. But, the data shares that the governments want to keep control of the professional and private life of people who aren’t linked with a crime or international terrorism.

The Guardian reported that the Hungarian government of Viktor Orban would have used the technology in its war with the media. His staff with the Washington Post replied strictly: “In Hungary, state bodies authorized to use undercover tools are regularly monitored by governmental and non-governmental institutions. Did you ask the same question to the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany or France?”.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE would have resorted to Pegasus to spy on some people linked with the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Amnesty’s versifications, the spyware was for sure installed on Khashoggi’s girlfriend’s phone, Hatice Cengiz, four days prior his murder in 2018.


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We can see that more than 50,000 phone numbers were included on the list, which the Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International obtained, and the Pegasus project identified more than 1,000 people in fifty different countries that NSO customers selected for potential surveillance. Among those people were the editor of the Financial Times Roula Khalaf, and journalists from Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg News, and Le Monde.

The investigation opens the debate on the widespread use of espionage tools that threaten democracies. The surveillance is the thing that causes the most problems for the journalists to collect information for activists to continue their business and the politicians to plan their strategies.

Timothy Summers shares that with Pegasus, we can spy on the world’s population: “There is nothing wrong with developing technologies that allow you to collect data. But humanity is not in a position to make so much power accessible to all”.

Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary-General, says, “the number of journalists identified as targets clearly illustrates how Pegasus is being used as a tool to intimidate critical media. It is about controlling public fiction, resisting scrutiny, and suppressing any voices of dissent ″.

The Guardian highlighted the case, sharing that Mexican journalist Cecilio Pineda Brito was killed in 2017, once his phone was on the leaked list. Umar Khalid, Indian Leader of the Dems Students’ Union, was spied on.
In the trial, the prosecution shared data on the defendant’s personal phone, and they didn’t explain how they got the documents. Khadija Ismayilova’s phone was spied on for three long years because she investigated corruption and abuses of President Ilham Aliyev.

The investigation relaunched international pressure on the Israeli government, allowing the company to collaborate with the authoritarian regimes that use the spyware for purposes beyond its goal of targeting terrorists and criminals.

To provide its services in a specific country, the company has to obtain a permit from the Israeli government, but when the software arrives at the government, the NSO controls the purposes and methods.

The latest allegations shared the concern among the privacy activists that neither one smartphone user, nor even those who use software like WhatsApp or Signal, is safe from governments.

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Addison Wilson

A passionate teacher in English Language and Literature ready to give her best! Developing and implementing diverse curriculums covering a wide range of subjects. With my problem-solving skills, every job will be easily completed, so punctuation is my strength. Highly skilled at motivating students through positive encouragement and reinforcement of concepts via interactive classroom instruction and observation. My working style fits every personality type, so it makes me a great team player. I have completed numerous journalistic projects successfully, so digging for further information is my field. Fighter for freedom of speech! The truth must be revealed!

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