Israel’s NSO, the developer of military grade spyware Pegasus which has allegedly been used by multiple nations for snooping on politicians, judiciary, officials, activists and journalists, today said it will no longer respond to media inquiries. The expose by 17 news organisations across the world since Sunday, it said, was a “planned and well-orchestrated media campaign lead by Forbidden Stories and pushed by special interest groups”.
“NSO will thoroughly investigate any credible proof of misuse of its technologies, as we always had, and will shut down the system where necessary,” a spokesperson said.
Since Sunday, NSO has been denying that the list is related to possible targets of surveillance, as claimed by the media houses, which have undertaken forensic tests on some of the phones and found traces of Pegasus activation.
NSO — which claims it supplies its software only to vetted government for control of terrorism, fight crime and increase public safety — has repeatedly denied that the list leaked to Amnesty International and French news non-profit Forbidden Stories is not a list of targets or potential targets of Pegasus.
In a statement today, the company said “Enough is Enough” and that it would no longer “play along with the vicious and slanderous campaign”.
“NSO is a technology company. We do not operate the system, nor do we have access to the data of our customers, yet they are obligated to provide us with such information under investigations. NSO will thoroughly investigate any credible proof of misuse of its technologies, as we always had, and will shut down the system where necessary,” the spokesperson said.
The statement follows a news report by Reuters that the Israel government has set up a senior inter-ministerial team to look into the allegations of abuse of the spyware.
Quoting un-named sources, the report mentioned potential diplomatic blowback after media reports of suspected abuse of Pegasus in France, Mexico, India, Morocco and Iraq.