Washington (AFP) – WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart has called revelations about NSO’s Pegasus monitoring program an “alarm bell”.
“Cell phones are either safe for everyone or they are not safe for everyone,” he told the Guardian newspaper on Saturday. “If this affects journalists around the world, if this affects human rights defenders around the world, it affects all of us.”
Recently, an international press consortium reported that Pegasus software could have been used to spy on smartphones by many journalists, human rights activists, politicians and businessmen. Cathcart said the current disclosure is in line with what WhatsApp NSO accused in 2019: Senior government officials around the world – including people in senior national security positions – were governments in an attack on 1,400 WhatsApp users in 2019. .with spyware.
Facebook, the owner of WhatsApp, sued NSO in the US in 2019. The allegation is that NSO tried to access hundreds of smartphones via a vulnerability in WhatsApp that was later closed. Among those targeted were journalists, lawyers, dissidents, human rights activists, diplomats, and government officials. NSO will defend itself in court. The company asserts that contracts with clients have been terminated on suspicion of human rights violations.
Cathcart said the NSO Group claims that too many governments are buying its software. “This means that these governments (…) finance it.”
The NSO Group has accused the head of WhatsApp of willful disinformation. A company spokesperson told dpa on Saturday that their products, which will be sold to “security-authorised” foreign governments, cannot be used for electronic surveillance in the United States. “No foreign customer has ever been given technology to gain access to phones with US numbers.” NSO Group also has no insight into its customers’ data.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210725-99-521001 / 2
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