The embattled Israeli spytech firm NSO Group on Sunday filed a defamation suit against a newspaper after it reported that its Pegasus software was used by police against dozens of prominent Israelis.
Business daily Calcalist’s report sparked public outcry in Israel, with the government promising to respond and President Isaac Herzog saying the alleged police misconduct threatened the country’s democratic foundations.
But the police and justice ministries have said their internal investigations since the blazing Calaclist report was published earlier this month proved the paper was false.
on Sunday, NSO Said it was suing the paper for reform and ILS one million (about Rs 2 crore) after a letter seeking formal reform went unanswered.
“This appears not to be a journalistic investigation, but a one-sided, partisan and false publication,” said a statement from NSO, based near Tel Aviv.
According to a spokesperson, Calcalist’s editorial board said they would “respond in court” to the allegations.
Pegasus enables users to remotely activate the phone’s microphone and camera and access its data.
Calcalist claimed that the Israeli police, without obtaining the proper authorization, implicated Pegasus On phone calls from government ministry heads, local mayors, activists, as well as a key witness in the ongoing trial of the former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for alleged corruption.
A government investigation into the newspaper’s allegations states that police successfully infected the phone of just one person subject to a court order.
In its lawsuit filed in Rishon Letzian Magistrates’ Court, NSO accused CalcList of “distorting” the government report to make it appear that it corroborated the reporting.
According to the lawsuit, Calcalist published “obvious lies” about NSO and its products on four separate occasions, with the Spytech company rejecting the paper’s claim that records of Pegasus use could be deleted without a trace. Is.
Calling the reports a “crazy conspiracy theory”, NSO emphasized their ability to tailor their equipment to each client’s needs in the lawsuit, noting that in the case of Israel’s police, they “underwater”. product supplied.
The US blacklisted the NSO group in November, after a global investigation revealed Pegasus has been used by the repressive regime to target journalists, dissidents, diplomats and others.
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