By David Himbara
A group of media organizations have mapped out victims of digital violence, including journalists, political activists, and human rights defenders. The victims’ cellular phones were hacked by Pegasus, a spyware developed by the Israeli tech company, NSO Group. This is how General Paul Kagame’s intelligence and law-enforcement agencies find their victims who end up in prison, disappearing, or even dead.
NSO Group Technologies is an Israeli technology firm whose spyware called Pegasus enables the remote surveillance of smartphones. The group describes its services as follows: “NSO Group develops best-in-class technology to help government agencies detect and prevent a wide-range of local and global threats.” NSO Group adds that its products “help government intelligence and law-enforcement agencies use technology to meet their challenges.” NSO Group has been widely supplying its Pegasus product to all manner of regimes, including Rwanda.
Over the next week, media partners of what is known as The Pegasus Project – including The Guardian, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung and The Washington Post – will run a series of stories exposing details of how world leaders, human rights activists and journalists are targeted for hacking by governments using the NSO Group’s spyware technology. From the leaked data and investigations, 11 countries have been identified as clients of the NSO Group. Unsurprisingly, Kagame’s Regime is one of the countries that uses NSO Group technology to hack victims who end in prison, disappearing or dead. Follow this developing story in the coming days in The Guardian, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung and The Washington Post.