An investigation by Front Line Defenders (FLD) revealed that Palestinian human rights activists were targeted by a phone hack using Pegasus spyware, developed by the Israeli spyware firm NSO Group. Some of these activists are members of the six Palestinian civil society organizations that Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz recently criminalized.
When installed on a person’s phone, Pegasus gives the hackers complete access to everything on that phone, including messages, emails, passwords, voice calls, location data, and contacts, and it can even remotely activate the camera and microphone in real time.
Quoted in two Mondoweiss articles, USCPR’s Executive Director Ahmad Abuznaid commented on this hack and surveillance imposed on Palestinian human rights defenders:
“We know what repression looks like,” Abuznaid said. “Smearing human rights defenders and spreading propaganda to delegitimize their work. Surveilling activists and journalists who dare to expose the truth. All the while continuing to commit human rights violations on a daily basis. The Israeli regime is a separate-and-unequal apartheid state employing every last authoritarian tactic at its disposal, but we know the truth: that liberation is coming and Palestine will be free.”
Read more in the two articles below:
- “Palestinian human rights activists target of Israeli spyware hack” by Yumna Patel in Mondoweiss
- “Israeli officials defend spyware technology to Biden, as activists condemn surveillance” by Michael Arria in Mondoweiss