Israeli officials on Wednesday (July 28) raided the offices of NSO Group in the wake of revelations that its surveillance software, Pegasus, was used by governments across the globe to snoop on public figures, opposition leaders and journalists, according to a report.
The scandal has led to Indian Parliament proceedings being paralysed for days, with the Opposition insisting on a reply from the prime minister and many demanding a Supreme Court-monitored probe. Opposition leaders, two Union ministers and 40 journalists were allegedly targeted through the Israeli spyware, which NSO claims is sold only to governments.
An NSO spokesperson confirmed to the Israeli news website The Record that “representatives from the Israeli Ministry of Defence had visited their offices”.
“The company is working in full transparency with the Israeli authorities. We are confident that this inspection will prove the facts are as declared repeatedly by the company against the false allegations made against us in the recent media attacks,” the spokesperson said, The Indian Express reported.
The Indian government has denied allegations that the spyware was being used to snoop on politicians, journalists and a constitutional authority. It has also called the report “sensational”, and an attempt “to malign Indian democracy and its well-established institutions”.
Amnesty International, a part of the investigative consortium, had issued a statement debunking the government’s claims, saying that it “categorically stands by” the findings of the investigation. “Amnesty International categorically stands by the findings of the Pegasus Project, and that the data is irrefutably linked to potential targets of NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. The false rumours being pushed on social media are intended to distract from the widespread unlawful targeting of journalists, activists and others that the Pegasus Project has revealed,” the organisation said in a statement.