The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) reported that ,” Pegasus represents a paradigm shift in terms of access to private communications and devices which has the potential to affect the very essence of our fundamental rights, particularly the right to privacy . Its use is incompatible with our democratic values.“
Pegasus is a piece of highly advanced military-grade intrusion software developed by the Israeli company NSO Group that is capable of breaking into Android and iOS smartphones and turning them into a remote monitoring tool capable of extracting sensitive information, recording conversations and tracking users’ movements.
In addition to granting unrestricted access to the targeted devices, is installed stealthily on devices by leveraging zero-click exploits such as KISMET and FORCEDENTRY which require no interaction from the users.
While NSO Group has repeatedly stated that the software is only sold to governments for the purpose of combating crime and terrorism, and that it is on a “life-saving mission,” a growing body of evidence has revealed widespread use of Pegasus to hack into the phones of journalists, political figures .
According to a recent series of disclosures by the business publication Calcalist, Israel Police targeted dozens of citizens in the country with NSO Group spyware to gather intelligence without a search warrant authorising the surveillance.
The EDPS stated that Pegasus should not be compared to law enforcement interception tools as much as government trojans, and that “‘national security’ cannot be used as an excuse to an extensive use of such technologies, nor as an argument against European Union involvement.”
Finally the researchers concluded that ,” watchdog has proposed tighter oversight of surveillance measures, stricter implementation of data protection regulations and stronger legislation prohibiting the use of sophisticated hacking tools such as Pegasus to protect against unauthorised use.