Israel Sets Up Pegasus Probe Team; Spyware Maker NSO Says Will Investigate ‘Credible Proof’

Israel Sets Up Pegasus Probe Team; Spyware Maker NSO Says Will Investigate ‘Credible Proof’ Image used for Representational purposes only. (Source: Pexels)

New Delhi: Highlighting the seriousness of the Pegasus Exposé, the Israeli government on Wednesday ordered an inter-ministerial team to look into the allegations over Israeli cyber firm NSO’s spyware. According to a report by Reuters, an anonymous Israeli source hints that the inter-ministerial team will look into the allegations raised by countries like India and France, however, they might not review the export of the spyware.

The Government appointed team will be headed by Israel’s National Security Council, who will directly answer to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and will have experts from Defence Ministry among others.

The Israeli government has reportedly taken the step to avoid any diplomatic blowback after an international media consortium raised allegations of suspected abuse of Pegasus spyware in countries like India, France, Mexico, Iraq and Morocco.

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Meanwhile, Israeli Spyware maker NSO, on Wednesday released an official statement saying that the company will no longer be responding to media inquiries on this matter.

“In light of the recent planned and well-orchestrated media campaign lead by Forbidden Stories and pushed by special interest groups, and due to the complete disregard of the facts, NSO is announcing it will no longer be responding to media inquiries on this matter and it will not play along with the vicious and slanderous campaign,” the statement read.

NSO further added that it will ‘thoroughly investigate any credible proof of misuse of its technologies’. The developer of military-grade spyware Pegasus has so far denied any misuse of its spyware.

“Any claim that a name in the list is necessarily related to a Pegasus target or Pegasus potential target is erroneous and false,” it said.

“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 said.

“NSO will thoroughly investigate any credible proof of misuse of its technologies, as we always had, and will shut down the system where necessary,” it added.

ALSO READ: Pegasus Expose: Shashi Tharoor-Led Parliamentary Panel on IT to Meet on July 28

Meanwhile, Pegasus row has exploded in countries like France and India. According to AFP, the prosecutors in Paris have opened a probe into the allegations. There are reports that cellphones of French President Emmanuel Macron and 15 members of the French government may have been among potential targets in 2019 of surveillance by spyware.

In India, Pegasus has taken over the Parliament’s ongoing monsoon session, in which opposition parties have cornered the BJP-led government at the Centre. Many are demanding the resignation of the Home Minister Amit Shah, the main opposition party has Congress’ Shashi Tharoor to lead Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, to look into the disclosures on July 28.

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