Pegasus spyware has been here for years. We must stop ignoring it

On July 18, a group of 17 newspaper and media organizations—aided by Amnesty International’s Security Lab and the research group Citizen Lab—revealed that one of the world’s most advanced and viciously invasive spyware tools had been used to hack, or attempt to hack, into 37 mobile phones owned by human rights activists, journalists, political dissidents, and business executives. The spyware, called Pegasus and developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, is reportedly instrumental to several governments’ oppressive surveillance campaigns against their own citizens and residents, and, while NSO Group has repeatedly denied allegations that it complicitly sells Pegasus to human right abusers, it is difficult to reconcile exactly how the zero-click spyware program—which non-consensually and invisibly steals emails, text messages, photos, videos, locations, passwords, and social media activity—is at the same time a tool that can, in its very use, respect the rights of those around the world to speak freely, associate safely, and live privately.

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