STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Pegasus spyware affair completely unacceptable if true: EU chief

The NSO Group and its Pegasus malware -- capable of switching on a phone's camera or microphone, and harvesting its data -- have been in the headlines since 2016.

Published: 19th July 2021 04:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th July 2021 04:55 PM   |  A+A-

Ursula von der Leyen

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. (Photo | AP)

By AFP

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Monday the spyware scandal involving an Israeli software firm and up to 50,000 smartphone numbers was "completely unacceptable" if true.

"This has to be verified, but if it is the case, it is completely unacceptable," she told reporters in Prague.

Media outlets including The Washington Post, The Guardian and Le Monde drew links Sunday between the Israel-based NSO Group, accused of supplying spyware to governments, and a list of tens of thousands of smartphone numbers, including those of activists, journalists, business executives and politicians around the world.

Von der Leyen, who was in Prague to present a Czech post-Covid recovery plan worth 7 billion euros ($8.2 billion) approved by the EU, slammed the alleged attack on journalists' phones.

ALSO READ | What is Pegasus spyware? 10 basic facts about 'snooping' row & the surveillance software involved 

"Free press is one of the core values of the European Union," she said after meeting Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

The NSO Group and its Pegasus malware -- capable of switching on a phone's camera or microphone, and harvesting its data -- have been in the headlines since 2016, when researchers accused it of helping spy on a dissident in the United Arab Emirates.

The leak consists of more than 50,000 smartphone numbers believed to have been identified as connected to people of interest by NSO clients since 2016, the news organizations said, although it was unclear how many devices were actually targeted or surveilled.

NSO has denied any wrongdoing.

Founded in 2010 by Israelis Shalev Hulio and Omri Lavie, NSO Group is based in the Israeli hi-tech hub of Herzliya, near Tel Aviv.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp