Half of the EU member states have purchased the infamous Pegasus spyware, the EU delegation said after it visited Israel.
A 9-member delegation of the European Parliament’s Committee of inquiry investigating the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware (PEGA) traveled to Israel to discuss abuses of mercenary surveillance tools and their impact on democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights in the EU.
“NSO Group is not the only vendor, but certainly one of the biggest. It has sold spyware to fourteen EU governments, using export licenses issued by the Israeli government,” Sophie in ‘t Veld, PEGA rapporteur, said.
The committee of inquiry to investigate the use of Pegasus was established this March, following the alleged use of the Pegasus surveillance spyware against journalists, politicians, law enforcement officials, diplomats, lawyers, business people, civil society actors, and other citizens.
“It is too early to draw any conclusions, but this visit has certainly underlined the need for additional efforts at the European level to prevent the abuse of such technology in the future. Many questions still remain open and need to be investigated further,” Committee Chair Jeroen Lenaers said.
The committee plans to visit Poland and Hungary next, given that those governments reportedly used Pegasus spyware to spy on their critics.
The committee is expected to submit a final report after 12 months of work.
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