Spain authorities pledge probes into Pegasus spyware allegations
Madrid, Apr 24 (EFE).- Spanish authorities on Sunday said they would launch a full investigation into allegations that the phones of dozens of Catalan activists and politicians were hacked with controversial spyware for several years.
The Spanish ombudsman announced a probe into the accusations, which have strained already fragile relations between Catalan separatist parties and the central coalition government prime minister Pedro Sánchez, who last week said he had “nothing to do” with the alleged use of spyware.
Separately, Félix Bolaños, a government spokesman, announced Sunday an internal inquiry into whether Spain’s intelligence agency (CNI) had access to the Pegasus spyware technology, which is developed by the Israeli company NSO Group.
The investigations come after a study by research group Citizen Lab, published by the New Yorker, revealed that dozens of pro-independence Catalan politicians, journalists and activists had been targeted with the spyware between 2015 and 2020.
The NSO Group says its technology is designed for use by authorized governments in countering terror and crime.
Once planted on a device, the spyware can record videos, audio and read messages without the user’s knowledge.
Among those named in the report as victims of the spyware are Carles Puigdemont, the former regional president of Catalonia, and Pere Aragonès, the current regional president.
The revelations heaped strain on the rickety relations between Sánchez’s left-leaning minority government coalition and Catalan separatists, on whom the prime minister relies to pass legislation. EFE