Macron calls national security meeting to discuss Pegasus spyware – News Vibe24

    Macron calls national security meeting to discuss Pegasus spyware - Times of India
    PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron called a national security meeting Thursday morning to discuss the Israeli spy program Pegasus following reports of its use in France this week, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.
    “The president is watching this issue closely and is taking it very seriously,” Attal told France Inter radio, adding that the unscheduled national security meeting would be “dedicated to the Pegasus issue and cyber security.”
    NSO: Macron does not target Pegasus spyware
    An official with the Israeli cybersecurity company NSO Group said Wednesday that the controversial Pegasus spyware tool was not used to target French President Emmanuel Macron.
    The comments came as Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged Israel to suspend exports of espionage technology after heads of state – including Macron – and dozens of journalists and rights activists appeared on a list of alleged targets.
    We can “come out specifically and say with certainty that the President of France, Macron, was not the target,” said Chaim Gelfand, chief compliance officer at the NSO Group.
    But he also referred to “some cases where it was reported that we are not so comfortable”, noting that in such cases the company “usually approaches the customer and has a very long discussion … to try to understand what his legitimate reasons were, if exists to use the system. ”
    Gelfand’s comments came a day after RSF chief Christophe Deloire called on Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to “impose an immediate moratorium on exports of surveillance technology until a protective regulatory framework is in place.”
    Deloire’s call came after a leak of a list of about 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been selected by NSO Group customers. The numbers included Macron and 13 other heads of state.
    Pegasus can break into cell phones without the user knowing, allowing customers to read every message, track a user’s location, and use the phone’s camera and microphone.
    The NSO has contracts with 45 countries and states that the Israeli Ministry of Defense must approve its agreements. The company does not identify its customers.
    However, Amnesty International and the Paris-based Forbidden Stories, which received the list, said NSO government clients include Bahrain, India, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda and Saudi Arabia.
    Media reports, including The Guardian, Le Monde and The Washington Post, found that nearly 200 journalists from organizations, including AFP, were on the list.
    “The ability of governments to install spyware that is actually used to track hundreds of journalists and their sources around the world poses a major democratic problem,” Deloire said.
    NSO, an Israeli technology giant, is based in Erzurum, north of Tel Aviv, and employs 850 people.

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