Chinese and Iranian diplomats among those on the Pegasus list: report | World news
A number once used by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and those of dozens of diplomats in India from countries like China and Iran are among the potential targets selected by users of the Pegasus spy program, media reported on Monday.
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Paris-based Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International gained access to a leaked list of more than 50,000 phone number records that customers of Israeli firm NSO Group, the developer of Pegasus, selected for surveillance. More than 1,000 phone numbers in India were on the list, according to 17 media outlets that reviewed the list. The files included at least one number once used by Prime Minister Khan that had been selected by an ONS client for surveillance, the Washington Post and Le Monde reported.
“Not surprisingly, Pakistan is the most scrutinized country,” Le Monde said in its report.
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“The numbers of Imran Khan and several of his ambassadors in India are on the list as potential targets. Dozens of other Delhi-based diplomats and ambassadors are also included, from Iran, Afghanistan, China, Nepal and Saudi Arabia, ”the report adds.
Hari Menon, the Indian chief of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as another employee of the foundation and two employees of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based in New Delhi were also on the list, reported the Washington Post.
There was no immediate response from Indian officials or country missions cited in the reports. Khan did not respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post.
While monitoring the telephone numbers of diplomats is not unknown in the world, the question remains very sensitive. For example, Pakistani security agencies are notorious for wiretapping the phones of all Indian diplomats and officials as well as those of visiting Indian journalists.
Given India’s currently strained relations with China and Pakistan, further scrutiny by diplomats from both countries would not be surprising, experts said. However, most of the other countries cited in the Le Monde report are not perceived as security concerns.
NSO Group has stated that all of its customers are sovereign governments and all exports are licensed by the Israeli government. He also said that Pegasus has been used by around 60 intelligence and law enforcement agencies in 40 countries and insisted that the spyware, which can access all data on a cell phone and turn it into an audio or video recorder, is only intended for terrorists. and criminals.
The Indian government has neither confirmed nor denied the licensing of Pegasus and has denied all reporting.
However, the Global Investigation Project alleged that Pegasus had been used to target politicians, ministers, civil society and rights activists and journalists.