Business & Economy

Amnesty: EU must act to end spyware abuse as Catalan leaders targeted

Madrid, Apr 18 (EFE).- The European Union must act to end spyware abuse after the phones of dozens of prominent Catalan politicians and activists were hacked with controversial spyware, Amnesty International said Monday.

A study by research group Citizen Lab revealed that dozens of pro-independence Catalan politicians, journalists and activists had been targeted with the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware between 2015 and 2020.

“The Spanish government needs to come clean over whether or not it is a customer of NSO Group. It must also conduct a thorough, independent investigation into the use of Pegasus spyware against the Catalans identified in this investigation,” Amnesty International’s Technology and Human Rights researcher, Likhita Banerji, said in a statement.

Among the targeted were Catalonia’s regional leader, Pere Aragonès, former leader Quim Torra and Catalan activist Jordi Sànchez, who was persistently targeted with Pegasus from as early as September 2015 to July 2020, according to the human rights group.

“It’s an unjustifiable disgrace, (…) An extremely serious attack on fundamental rights and democracy,” Aragonès tweeted.

The revelations come as the EU Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry is set to hold its first meeting on Tuesday to address breaches of EU law associated with the use of Pegasus and equivalent spyware.

“We urge the European Parliament Committee of Inquiry to leave no stone unturned when documenting the human rights violations enabled by unlawful spyware, including by investigating these new revelations,” Banerji said.

Activists, journalists and other members of society have been previously targeted in Belgium, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. EFE


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