80 NGOs call on Europe to ban the use of Pegasus spyware

“The European Union should follow the example of the United States, and put [l’entreprise israélienne NSO Group] on its sanctions list and take all appropriate measures to prohibit the sale, transfer, import, export and use of NSO Group technologies until appropriate human rights protection measures are taken. have not been implemented. ”

Also listen Pegasus: at the heart of a global investigation into phone spying

In an open letter, published on December 3 and addressed to EU foreign ministers, a coalition of 80 human rights organizations calls on the Union and its member countries to sanction NSO Groupe and ‘ban the use of Pegasus, the spyware sold by this Israeli company. The text is notably signed by Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Privacy International.

In July, a media consortium, including The world, revealed that this powerful spyware was massively used by several governments to spy on lawyers, journalists, political opponents or human rights activists. Several victims of illegal surveillance have in particular been identified in Hungary, where the government initially denied being a customer of NSO Group, before admitting to having purchased this software.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers In Hungary, power targets journalists and press bosses

European law “Allows for the adoption of targeted sanctions against entities which are considered responsible for violations of the law likely to undermine the objectives of the EU’s foreign and security policy, which includes attacks on freedom of association,” freedom of opinion and freedom of expression ”, write the associations. “These rights have been repeatedly violated using NSO Group technology. “

Several European clients

NSO Group was placed on the US State Department’s blacklist at the beginning of November for similar reasons, a sanction that drastically limits the commercial relations that the American company can have with American customers or suppliers.

Read also Pegasus case: NSO Group blacklisted by US Department of Commerce

In Europe, several investigations are underway, but no sanction has been decided against the company. Besides Hungary, several other countries are, or have been, customers of NSO Group – although this does not mean that these countries have all made illegal use of Pegasus. In addition to Germany, several countries of the Union have purchased access to the software, according to information from the World.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Despite NSO Group’s approaches, France chose not to purchase Pegasus spyware at the end of 2020

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