Catalan President Calls For NSO Spyware Investigation

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The Catalan president has called on the Spanish government to launch an “official and independent investigation” into how and why he and more than 60 figures associated with the regional independence movement reportedly had their mobile phones targeted using NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.

Pere Aragonès told the Guardian that the alleged targeting, revealed by Citizen Lab cybersecurity experts on Monday, constituted a violation of individual rights, an attack on democracy, and a threat to political dissent.

“My phone was targeted because of my political duties – first as regional vice-president, and then as regional president,” he said. “That goes beyond what was done to me as an individual and as a citizen. They were also attacking the democratically elected institution that is the Catalan government, which is an attack on all Catalan citizens and institutions, and, as such, an attack on democracy.”

According to Citizen Lab, Aragonès and his three pro-independence predecessors were among at least 65 individuals whose phones were targeted or infected with mercenary spyware using fake texts or WhatsApp messages. Almost all the incidents took place between 2017 – the year of the failed bid for Catalan regional independence – and 2020.

Although NSO Group claims that Pegasus is sold only to governments to track criminals and terrorists, a joint investigation two years ago by the Guardian and El País established that the speaker of the Catalan regional parliament and at least two other pro-independence supporters were warned the spyware had been used to

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