‘AIVD uses controversial espionage software Pegasus’

The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) uses the controversial Pegasus eavesdropping software from the Israeli company NSO Group. The spy program would have been used, among other things, to hack the phone of Ridouan Taghi, the main suspect in the Marengo trial. It is unknown whether the security service also uses Pegasus for other purposes.

Four sources confirm to de Volkskrant that the AIVD uses Pegasus.

Uncertainty about the use of Pegasus in the Netherlands

Pegasus is spy software developed by the NSO Group. With the eavesdropping program, intelligence and security services can extract all imaginable information from smartphones and other infected devices. In addition to digital communications (texts, emails, and WhatsApp messages), the software also collects photos, videos, phone numbers, location data, and stored documents. It is also possible to listen in on telephone conversations and to make screenshots and videos unnoticed.

For a long time it was unclear whether Dutch intelligence and security services used Pegasus to wiretap suspects. Last year, then Minister of the Interior Kajsa Ollongren and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigrid Kaag wrote to the House of Representatives in a letter that they did not know whether the services actually use this espionage software.

The police also refuse to disclose information about the hacking software they use. De Volkskrant has been trying for years to get more clarity about this, but without success. Marc van Breda, head of legal affairs at publishing house DPG Media, recently announced that he would go to an administrative court to get the right documents on the table.

‘Pegasus deployed against Ridouan Taghi’

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