Politics & News

Saudi Arabia denies using Israeli spyware on communications

By : Marwa Mahmoud

Saudi authorities denied on Wednesday that an entity in the Kingdom had used a spyware program sold by an Israeli company to monitor communications.

An official Saudi source denied, in a statement, this evening, Wednesday, “the allegations contained in some alleging press reports that an entity in the Kingdom used a program to follow up communications,” according to the Saudi Press Agency “SPA“.

The source added, “These allegations are baseless,” stressing that “the Kingdom’s approach and policy are consistent and do not endorse such practices.”

Reports indicated a list of nearly 50,000 phone numbers of persons of interest from clients of the Israeli company, NSO.

The reports did not specify the source of the list, nor the identities of all the personalities whose phones were hacked.

NSO denies any violations and says the program is designed to target criminals and terrorists and is only offered to intelligence, military, and law enforcement agencies in countries with good human rights records.

The company added in a statement that the original investigation, on which the reports were based, by the Paris-based NGO Forbidden Stories and human rights organization Amnesty International, was “full of false assumptions and undocumented theories.”

The allegations relate to the use of Israeli software known as Pegasus. Newspapers around the world reported the allegations last Sunday.

Pegasus infects iPhones and Android devices to be able to get messages, photos, and emails, record calls, and turn on microphones and cameras without the user noticing.

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