A report reveals that Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) had purchased the Pegasus spyware to monitor suspects (via DIE ZEIT).

Germany Buys Pegasus

Israeli-based NSO Group sells its spyware to law enforcement and governments around the world. Once an iPhone or Android is infected, it can monitor everything on the device in real time. Messages, location data, cameras, and more can be intercepted.

In July, an explosive investigation from Amnesty International found that Pegasus may be culpable in the murders and/or detention of certain journalists, human rights activists, and other democratic supporters around the world.

Germany’s federal government had previously been asked three times if it used NSO spyware, “in 2019 by the left-wing deputy Martina Renner, the following year by the German Journalists’ Association and this year in a small question from the Bundestag faction of the Greens.” In all cases, the Ministry of the Interior replied that no information was given to this question.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

Andrew:

‘No information…given’ is information. 

This, and similar stories about Pegasus and other private sector suppliers alone highlights the need for a deeper discussion into the intersections between privacy and surveillance vs monitoring persons of interest. These are not the same. 

The public outcry and polarisation around Apple’s proposed CSAM technology has made that conversation simultaneously more difficult and necessary; more so since the imperative for a solution is not going away, and the absence of a compelling solution will continue to threaten E2EE and privacy more broadly.