Project Pegasus: Rwandan authorities tracked thousands of activists, journalists and politicians with NSO’s spyware

NSO Group’s spyware plays a role in massive human rights abuses around the world, according to a major investigation into the leak of 50,000 phone numbers of people who were likely targets of surveillance. These include heads of state, activists, journalists, and Jamal Khashoggi’s family.

Project Pegasus Background

The Pegasus project is a pioneering collaboration of more than 80 journalists in 20 countries, coordinated by forbidden storiesIt is a non-profit organization based in Paris. AI provided technical support through advanced Forensic exams It works on cell phones to determine traces of spyware.

Surveillance in Belgium

It was announced yesterday that since 2016, Rwandan authorities have hacked the phones of more than 3,500 foreign activists, journalists, political dissidents, politicians and diplomats using NSO’s Pegasus software. Some of the phones belonged to Karen Kanimba, daughter of Paul Rospagina, and people close to her. Kanimba lives in Belgium.

Paul Russabjina is best known for the movie Hotel Rwanda, which is based on events from his own life during the Rwandan genocide. He is currently detained in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, and faces a life sentence on terrorism charges.

Pension funds also earn from it

Israeli surveillance technology company NSO Group is funded by major private equity firms Novalbina Capital and Francisco Partners, which has several investors behind it. Pension funds in the United Kingdom and the United States have interests in a company that violates human rights.

Amnesty International’s call

“Due to the huge burden of proof, the NSO Group cannot assert that its products are only used against criminals,” said Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard. The company must immediately stop selling its equipment to countries known to illegally spy on human rights defenders and journalists. Monitoring sector goes out of its scope. Countries should impose a global ban on the sale, transfer, and use of surveillance equipment until rules are in place that respect human rights.

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