Israeli Police Chief Orders Creation of Commission to Investigate Pegasus Spyware Scandal

© Photo : YouTube/Escape Hunt UK The Pegasus Project
The Pegasus Project - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.02.2022
TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - Israeli police chief Yaakov "Kobi" Shabtai on Monday asked the government to create a state commission to investigate police violations in surveillance of suspects using Pegasus spyware.
In January, Israeli news agency Calcalist published an article alleging that the country's police used Pegasus spyware, which is designed to be used by the Israeli authorities to spy on terrorists, to remotely access, control and extract information from the mobile phones of citizens who are not suspects in criminal cases, including civil servants and opposition figures. After the publication, the Israeli attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, notified the country's police chief about the creation of a working group to study the accusations published by the press.
"In light of recent reports on the use of technological systems by the Israeli police in the years leading up to my inauguration, I have asked the minister of public security to establish an independent commission led by a judge. The creation of such a commission will allow us to study all aspects of the issue in order to return public confidence to the police service and streamline the use of technological means," Shabtai said in a statement published by the Israeli police.
Shabtai added that should the commission find any violations, legal action would be taken.
On February 2, the Israeli police pledged to take steps to prevent abuse of authority for illegal surveillance of suspects in light of findings of a new probe into the Pegasus spyware scandal.
In November 2021, the US Department of Commerce included the NSO Group, the spyware's creator, in its list of entities engaging in activities contrary to US national security. Pegasus has purportedly been used to spy on the phones of about 50,000 targets, including politicians, businessmen, activists, journalists and opposition figures around the world. The same month, Apple launched a lawsuit against NSO Group for the surveillance and targeting of the company’s customers. They are also seeking a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple software, services, or devices.
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