Keyword: NSO Group
The Pegasus scandal has helped throw a spotlight on the repressive regime in Morocco, which is accused of using the Israeli-made spyware to target the phones of thousands of people, including politicians and journalists in France. In particular it has focused attention on the North African kingdom's top cop and spy chief Abdellatif Hammouchi and his role in the affair. As Mediapart reports, this key figure in the Moroccan state apparatus is feared in many Western capitals, including Paris.
The legal action follows revelations that its intelligence services used the Pegasus mobile phone spyware against dozens of French journalists.
Mediapart has started legal action after revelations that two of our journalists had their phone hacked with the Pegasus spyware by the Moroccan secret services. The software, made by Israeli firm NSO Group, was sold to government clients around the world and was supposedly to be used only to “fight serious crime and terrorism”. But a date leak and investigations by various media around the world show that some countries drew up lists of telephone numbers that could be targeted with the spyware – and these lists include many journalists. Among them are Mediapart's co-founder and publishing editor Edwy Plenel and reporter Lénaïg Bredoux. Analysis has shown their phones were infected with the spyware by Moroccan agents in 2019 and 2020. Mediapart has filed a formal complaint with the state prosecutor in Paris, which has now opened a criminal investigation. Meanwhile it has also emerged that French president Emmanuel Macron's phone was targeted with the spyware by Morocco in 2019.
Data leak and forensics suggest NSO’s surveillance tool Pegasus was used against journalists at some of world’s top media companies. Mediapart was among those organisations targeted.