WEST BANK (Dispatches) – Reports that governments used phone malware supplied by a Zionist firm to spy on journalists, activists and heads of state have “exposed a global human rights crisis”, Amnesty International said, asking for a moratorium on the sale and use of surveillance technology.
The NSO Group’s Pegasus software – able to switch on a phone’s camera or microphone and harvest its data – is at the center of a storm after a list of about 50,000 potential surveillance targets was leaked to rights groups.
Amnesty International and French media nonprofit Forbidden Stories collaborated with several media companies, including the Washington Post, the Guardian and Le Monde, to analyze and publish the list.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who was on the list of targets, had to change his phone and number.
“Not only does it expose the risk and harm to those individuals unlawfully targeted, but also the extremely destabilizing consequences on global human rights and the security of the digital environment at large,” Agnes Callamard, Amnesty’s Secretary General, said in the statement.
An investigation has revealed that Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed al-Maktoum – also known as Princess Latifa – who was running away from her father, the ruler of Dubai, when her escape was thwarted after a dramatic raid of her yacht in 2018, was captured using the Zionist phone hacking spyware Pegasus.
According to the American daily newspaper Washington Post, phone numbers belonging to friends and associates of the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, were apparently on the list of phone numbers of people believed to be of interest to clients of NSO.
Last year, a British judge ruled that Sheikh Mohammed was keeping both Latifa and her sister Shamsa captive and had kidnapped the two on separate occasions.
Back in February, 35-year-old Sheikha Latifa said in a video broadcast by the BBC’s investigative news program Panorama that she was being held “hostage” in a locked villa surrounded by police.