October 24, 2021

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Government Trojans: FBI Spying on Pegasus


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Status: 08.10.2021 12:07 PM

German security authorities appear to be using the controversial Pegasus spyware more widely than previously known. In addition to the Federal Criminal Police Office, the German Federal Intelligence Service must also use controversial technology, such as the research it conducted NDR, WDR, SZ result and “time”.

Written by Florian Flaid and George Mascolo, NDR, WDR

Using the software from the Israeli manufacturer NSO Group, all mobile phone communications of the target person can be intercepted and read, whether they are encrypted or not. International research coordinated and co-ordinated by the non-profit organization Forbidden Stories NDR, WDRIn July, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and “Zeit” revealed how Pegasus is subjected to systematic violations by intelligence services and police authorities around the world to investigate journalists, human rights activists and opposition activists.

NSO stated at the time that it would only sell its technology to authorized government agencies. And exclusively for the purpose of combating terrorism and crime. However, a British court has just come to the conclusion that the Emir of Dubai used the program against his ex-wife and her lawyer.

German security authorities have been interested in Pegasus technology for several years. A delegation from the manufacturer had already traveled to Wiesbaden in 2017 to present the program to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). At the end of 2020, the authority finally agreed to buy a different type of monitoring program, which was said to have been modified to also comply with German law. It is still not clear how exactly Pegasus was revised. The BKA has only confirmed to the Bundestag Internal Committee that the program is already in use. Deputy Leader of the Green Parliamentary Group Konstantin von Knots called Pegasus a “rule of law nightmare” and called on the FDP to stop “state surveillance of the Trojans”.

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The federal government appears to have withheld from the parliamentary watchdog, which is responsible for controlling the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), among other things, that the German foreign intelligence service, the BND, has also been using the controversial program for a long time. When asked, neither the German Federal Intelligence Service nor the Federal Chancellery wanted to comment. It is not known exactly where BND uses the Pegasus technology.