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Israeli surveillance firm rejects claims about Pegasus spyware misuse

Some nations in the list of vetted customers mentioned by media reports are not even clients, said NSO Group while rejecting the claims about the misuse of the Pegasus spyware.

Israeli surveillance firm rejects claims about Pegasus spyware misuse-VPN
New Delhi, First Published Jul 19, 2021, 12:56 PM IST
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Hours after multiple media outlets claimed that the Pegasus spyware was used by "vetted clients" to snoop into the phones of persons of India across the world, including India, the Israeli surveillance company that developed the program has dismissed all charges.

A statement, which the NSO Group said addressed the misleading allegations and false accusations, released on Monday morning, said that the report by the Paris-based Journalism non-profit Forbidden Stories is riddled with "wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories" that raise serious doubts about the reliability and interests of the sources.

Denying all allegations made in the report, the NSO Group said that the lack of supporting documentation shows that there is no fact in the information supplied to Forbidden Stories by their sources.

The company claimed that the claims are "based on a misleading interpretation of data from accessible basic information like the HRL Lookup services which are openly available to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and are commonly used by government agencies and private companies for multiple reasons".

The company also said that claims of a data leak were an absolute lie as such data never existed on any of their servers and that some of the nations mentioned as clients had no access to Pegasis.

The Israeli firm reiterated that the Pegasus technology is sold only to law enforcement and intelligence agencies of "vetted governments" for protecting lives by preventing crime and terror acts. 

The release comes after Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, late Sunday, claimed that Pegasus might have been used to conduct surveillance on about 300 Indians, including two serving central Cabinet ministers, three opposition leaders, government officials and about 40 journalists.

The report claimed, citing the leaked database, that globally phones of around 50,000 people were targeted using the spyware.

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