Israeli Police Accused of Large-Scale Spying on Celebrities

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Israel – The Israeli police are accused of spying on celebrities, journalists and members of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s entourage with the controversial Pegasus spyware. That writes the Israeli business newspaper Calcalist Monday.


Earlier disclosures in Calcalist forced Israeli courts to open an investigation on Jan. 20, and police had to admit last week that they were using “unauthorized” spy software, without mentioning Pegasus, developed by the Israeli company NSO.

Monday, the newspaper will come with more revelations: the police would have used Pegasus to gather information. Among other things, against Avner Netanyahu, son of media advisers of the latter and well-known journalists, Pegasus would have been used without judicial permission. The newspaper also mentions top executives of large companies, mayors, activists for the rights of people with disabilities or Israelis of Ethiopian origin.

Israel Police Chief Yaakov Shabtaï has asked Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev to launch an external and independent investigation to “restore public trust” and “demonstrate police use of the technology.” regulate”.

Last week, Israeli media reported that police were suspected of tapping the phone of a key witness in Netanyahu’s trial.

Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO has not yet confirmed or denied the sale of its Pegasus program to Israeli police. However, it says it is “under no circumstances involved in the system’s functioning once it has been sold to a government”.

Last year, after an investigation by a consortium of 17 international media outlets, it became known that Pegasus was allowed to follow all actions on a spied phone. The program is installed on the phone without the user’s control. The journalistic investigation revealed that the telephones of French President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel and the fiancée of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, among others, were infected.

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