Home research company The Pegasus Project: Hacked in London – podcast | New

The Pegasus Project: Hacked in London – podcast | New

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In July, the Guardian, along with a number of international partners, revealed how powerful spyware called Pegasus, created by an Israeli company and sold to governments around the world, was being used against journalists, human rights defenders and individuals. politicians.

We had a leak – a database of 50,000 telephone numbers – giving clues as to the identity of some of these victims. We have spent months trying to match the leaked phone numbers to real people and one of those matches came in the last few weeks of the investigation: Alaa Al-Siddiq, a dissident from the United Arab Emirates, who had asylum in London.

In June, just before the investigation was published, she died in a car accident. There was nothing suspicious about his death, but new evidence has now emerged of an intense surveillance campaign by Al-Siddiq, who was the executive director of ALQST, a nonprofit advocating for the rights of man in the UAE and the wider region.

The gardians Stephanie Kirchgaessner recount Michel Safi that the case illustrates a worrying trend for activists such as Al-Siddiq, who fled the UAE to live in the relative safety of the UK, but were never beyond the reach of Pegasus spyware. One of Al-Siddiq’s friends describes the months leading up to her death as she grew increasingly concerned about the surveillance she knew she was subjected to.

In 2020, shortly after learning that it had been hacked, Al-Siddiq gave an interview, under a pseudonym, to director Laura Poitras and researchers from Forensic Architecture, a London-based research group that has studied the NSO group and how digital infections of civil society often target collaborator networks.

Shorideh Molavi, a Forensic Architecture researcher describes powerful surveillance tools as a form of “digital violence” that should increasingly be seen alongside other examples of state violence.

Last week the survey site Mediapart reported that traces of Pegasus spyware were found on the cellphones of at least five current French ministers, citing several anonymous sources and a confidential intelligence file.



Photography: Hossam Sarhan

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