The Israeli police recognize a possible misuse of spyware against Israeli citizens

Israeli police this Tuesday admitted possible inappropriate use of a computer program to infiltrate civilian cellphones after flatly denying the practices took place in the country.

The Israel Police Force has indicated in a statement that “additional discoveries” in the investigation launched as a result of complaints about this use of the Pegasus spyware “are changing things in certain aspects”.

The Israeli police recognize a possible misuse of spyware against Israeli citizens
The Israeli police recognize a possible misuse of spyware against Israeli citizens

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced on January 20 that he would launch an investigation into alleged police use of this “spyware” developed by the NSO Group to penetrate the cellphones of Israeli citizens.

The information was released by Israeli news portal Calcalist, which on Tuesday pointed out that the Israeli police had used the Pegasus software against Israeli civilians, including people not suspected of any crimes or crimes, to exploit a loophole in the law.

After that, the police denied any illegal use of this tool, although this Tuesday they issued the nuance mentioned above, while a police official told the Knesset that some of the systems used intercept data “automatically”.

In this sense, he explained that the content intercepted by these systems will not be used by the security forces, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Police have also said the Mandelblit investigation aims to “prevent any possible injury.”

The Mandelblit-appointed team, whose term ends Tuesday, is working to determine whether the agents exceeded their authority when approving the use of Pegasus. The researchers have until July 1 to submit their findings.

After opening the investigation, the head of the police, Kobi Shabtai, stated that “there is not and never has been a scenario in which the police have fundamentally and systematically violated the unwritten defense pact between them and the citizens”.

“There is no basis for claims that the police are spying on citizens,” he said, adding that he has been working to conduct “a careful review” of Calcalist’s information and that “he has yet to find any evidence that these alleged events took place. “

For his part, Public Safety Minister Omer Barlev, who oversees the police, welcomed the decision to conduct an inquiry “to make sure there are no bad apples in the system” and pointed out that “the Attorney General has made it clear that the The police acted in accordance with the law from a systematic perspective.

“In private incidents, no deviations from legal requirements were found,” he said. “However, illegal incidents could occur and for this reason the Attorney General has decided to form an investigative team,” he explained.

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