Palestinians report dozens of cases of Israeli spyware use, watchdog says

Written by Staff Writer, CNN

The International Federation of Human Rights on Monday published the findings of its own investigation into reports of the widespread use of Pegasus, a spyware known to have been used by Israel’s government against its enemies in the past.

The information was gathered using information provided by BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Network, the Electronic Intifada reported on Sunday, ahead of the UN Human Rights Council’s first inquiry into growing international use of the malware.

The EFF report found the software used by Palestine’s Mariam Program to inspect equipment of international NGOs working in Gaza and elsewhere. Citing unverified data, the network reported that Israeli institutions had been targeted since 2016.

Israeli government officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Though the EFF report relies on reports of the presence of Pegasus software on four USB sticks marked “Not For Export” found by a citizen, EFF estimates that such tools could number in the hundreds, meaning “easily ten times more Palestinian organizations were infected by Atlas than reported.”

Rights group: New video shows alleged Israeli state-sponsored killings in the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem

The findings suggest a “much more widespread reach than originally believed,” said the nonprofit, whose inquiry was carried out independently.

The new report echoes the findings of Electronic Intifada’s report into the use of Pegasus last year. Under the report’s findings, the software was found on more than 2,000 Israeli systems, including military, software and surveillance equipment.

OPCW to publish files on Syria chemical weapons alleged to have been used in 2018

But the EFF report also marks the first time it has been found on mobile devices, and the organization said it suspects the spyware was used in the region.

The UN’s new enquiry launched in March “supports the need for the world community to hold Israel accountable for its use of surveillance technologies, particularly in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” EFF said.

The NGO called on Israel to investigate Pegasus usage and “immediately adopt policies that take into account the full scope of Israeli use of global espionage technologies.”

Israel, along with the United States, Britain and Canada, is a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is due to issue its long-awaited report on the alleged use of chemical weapons in 2018 by Syrian authorities.

The evidence for that allegation “has not yet been substantiated” by OPCW, the organization said.

Leave a Comment