The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) called for strong regulations to protect media workers after an investigation revealed that, including right activities, reporters worldwide were spied on using Israeli hacking software.
NUJ encouraged journalists to use extra vigilance to protect their data and called on governments to enshrine domestic law’s inviolability of journalists’ communications.
The report by Paris-based not-for-profit media group Forbidden Stories found that at least 180 reporters, activists, and politicians worldwide have been spied on using cellphone malware developed by a private Israeli firm, igniting fears of widespread privacy and rights abuses were hacked using Pegasus software.
The report, also included the support of Amnesty International and an international reporting consortium, showed a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers of interest to NSO clients since 2016.
According to forensic analysis undertaken by the Pegasus project investigation, the mobile phone of a serving French minister showed digital traces of activity associated with NSO Group’s spyware.
An NSO Group spokesperson said Macron and other French and Belgian government officials on the list “are not and never have been Pegasus targets.” “It is not a list of targets or potential targets of NSO’s customers,” they added.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said that “All concerned with bringing this story to light deserve the highest praise. “[The report] underlines the dangers inherent in such powerful software. Without robust regulation, the access of rogue actors to our most intimate information is inevitable.”
Media outlets including the Guardian, Le Monde, the Washington Post, Die Zeit, Radio France, and the Wire contributed to the investigation.