Dozens of Catalan politicians and proponents of an independent Catalonia may have been bugged by espionage software from the Israeli company NSO Group. Among the targets was Pere Aragonès, the president of the northeastern Spanish region. Several predecessors would also have been secretly spied on. NSO Group denies all allegations against him.
That writes the British newspaper The Guardian on the basis of research by the Citizen Lab of Amnesty International.
Dozens of Catalan politicians bugged for years
In addition to leading Catalan politicians, members of the European Parliament, legislators, lawyers, activists, journalists and civil society organizations have been tapped, as well as their relatives. According to Citizen Lab researchers, at least 65 people were involved, 63 of whom were walking around with mobile devices contaminated with Pegasus.
Pegasus is an eavesdropping program developed by NSO Group. The spy software collects digital correspondence (WhatsApp, SMS), documents, photos, videos, location data and contact phone numbers. The software of the Israeli security company can also record telephone conversations, listen to the microphone, take screenshots and take pictures and videos unnoticed.
According to the Citizen Lab, virtually all wiretapping scandals took place between 2017 and 2020. In 2017, it failed to make Catalonia an independent, self-governing region. Fake text and WhatsApp messages have been used to infect the target’s smartphones.
Victims were champions of an independent Catalonia
Amnesty International’s research lab says current Catalan President Pere Aragonès has been bugged with Pegasus’ spy software. So are Quim Torra, the regional president from 2018 to 2020, Carles Puigdemont, the man who was the face of