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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced that “The Israeli Defense Institute is currently studying the file of the “NSO” group that developed the Pegasus spyware program.
The announcement comes after a meeting he had Thursday with members of the Meretz party, which is part of the ruling coalition.
The minister said Israel’s Defense Ministry does not grant licenses to export electronic products except “for security purposes, or just to prevent crime.”
A senior Israeli official confirmed to the BBC on Wednesday that a ministerial team is investigating allegations of misuse of spyware sold by Israel’s Internet Corporation.
The official added that, contrary to what was reported in the local and international media, the Israeli National Security Council was not leading the team involved in this operation.
The Israeli “NSO” group is currently causing a stir around the world amid allegations that it sold an abused spyware program, while the company officially denies its role in any violations.
Human rights reports revealed that the Pegasus program was used to track dozens of journalists, activists and political leaders around the world.
A global investigation published last Sunday revealed that the Pegasus program was being used to hack into smartphones, on a list of targets that included about 50,000 phones, some of which belong to political figures, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Moroccan King Mohammed. VI, as well as members of Arab royal families, including Sheikh Latifa, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, and Princess Haya bin Al Hussein, his ex-wife.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett did not comment on the matter, but he defended Israel’s nascent industrial computer security, while attending an IT conference on Wednesday.
Bennett praised Israel’s technological prowess and attributed the sector’s domestic prosperity to elite military units that are breeding grounds for start-ups.
In a related context, a Saudi official Wednesday denied what was reported by the media about the kingdom’s use of spyware to track communications, state television said.
The official added that these allegations are unfounded and stressed that the Kingdom does not condone such practices.
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