Ban would be ‘most effective option to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms’, says European Data Protection supervisor
NSO Group’s controversial Pegasus spyware should be banned in the European Union, the bloc’s in-house privacy watchdog warned.
“The ban on the development and the deployment of spyware with the capability of Pegasus in the EU would be the most effective option to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms,” the European Data Protection Supervisor said in a statement on Tuesday.
The warning comes amid increasing scrutiny of abuses of surveillance technologies meant to help intelligence and law enforcement agencies fight serious crime and terrorism. While the EU regulator doesn’t make decisions for member countries, its influence at the top echelons of the bloc’s institutions may encourage other authorities to crack down on surveillance software.
Pegasus software can track a user’s mobile phone, and its misuse has landed NSO at the center of high-profile privacy and human rights abuse cases. The product allegedly was supplied to governments that used it to spy on political dissidents, journalists and human right activists.
“The misuse of cyber intelligence tools is a serious matter and all allegations must be investigated,” Herzliya, Israel-based NSO said in an emailed statement.
“Unfortunately many of the organizations who have leveled these allegations have relied on ‘experts’ who claim to be ‘familiar’ with NSO and Pegasus and are long time political opponents of cyber intelligence,” the company said.
“This is an intentional effort by these groups to distort a necessary international policy debate over cyber intelligence tools by insisting on their outright ban,” NSO added.
Source: Luxembourg Times