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Macron calls national security meeting to discuss Pegasus spyware


PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron called a national security meeting on Thursday morning to discuss the incident Pegasus spyware after reports surfaced about its use in France this week, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.
“The president is closely following this issue and takes it very seriously,” Attal told France Inter radio, adding that the unscheduled national security meeting would be “dedicated to the Pegasus issue and the cybersecurity issue.” .
NSO: Macron is not the target of Pegasus spyware
An official of the Israeli cybersecurity company NSO Group said Wednesday that the firm’s controversial Pegasus spyware tool was not used to target French President Emmanuel Macron.
The comments came when Reporters Without Borders (RSF, urged Israel to suspend exports of spy technology after heads of state, including Macron, and dozens of journalists and rights activists appeared on a list of suspected targets selected for possible surveillance.
We can “go out specifically and say with certainty that the president of France, Macron, was not a target,” Chaim Gelfand, chief compliance officer for NSO Group, he told a news channel.
But he also alluded to “some cases raised that we are not so comfortable with”, noting that in such circumstances the company “generally approaches the client and has a long discussion … to try to understand what their legitimate reasons were if there are some, to use the system “.
Gelfand’s comments were broadcast on the same day that RSF Director Christophe Deloire asked Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to “impose an immediate moratorium on surveillance technology exports, until a protective regulatory framework is established. “.
The Deloire call came after a list of some 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been chosen by NSO Group customers was leaked. The numbers allegedly included those of Macron and 13 other heads of state.
Pegasus can hack mobile phones without the user knowing, allowing customers to read all messages, track a user’s location, and access the phone’s camera and microphone.
NSO has contracts with 45 countries and says Israel’s Defense Ministry must approve their deals. The company does not identify its customers.
However, the rights group Amnesty International and the Paris-based organization Forbidden stories who obtained the list, said NSO’s government clients include Bahrain, India, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda and Saudi Arabia.
Media reports, including The guardian, Le Monde and The Washington Post found that about 200 journalists from organizations, including AFP, were on the list.
“Allowing governments to install spyware that is used in practice to monitor hundreds of journalists and their sources around the world poses a major democratic problem,” Deloire said.
NSO, an Israeli tech giant, is headquartered in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, and has 850 employees.

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