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HomeSECURITYMurdered journalist's widow sues spyware vendor Pegasus

Murdered journalist’s widow sues spyware vendor Pegasus


Murdered journalist’s widow sues spyware vendor Pegasus

The widow claims Pegasus has changed her life forever for the worse.

Widow of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi filed legal action to the company NSO Groupaccusing her of planting spyware on the widow’s phone Pegasuswhich caused her to quit her job, fear for the safety of her family, and constantly “look back.”

Hanan Elatr Khashoggi is seeking compensation (for an undisclosed sum) in a lawsuit alleging NSO Group violated federal hacking laws by selling its powerful and often invisible surveillance software to repressive foreign governments.

Pegasus gained international attention after Khashoggi’s murder and has recently appeared in campaigns against dissidents, opposition politicians and journalists in Spain, Greece, Poland, Hungary and elsewhere.

In the lawsuit, Elatr Khashoggi claims that in April 2018, while working as a flight attendant, she arrived at Dubai International Airport and was taken by police to an interrogation room, where she was interrogated for several hours about Jamal Khashoggi.

According to the lawsuit, investigators determined that spyware was most likely installed on her device during the interrogation. In addition, the woman’s abductors took away both of her mobile phones, which she used to communicate with her husband Jamal.

As you know, the United Arab Emirates is a close ally of Saudi Arabia and a repressive government known for imprisoning human rights defenders who are monitored with the help of Pegasus. Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, 59, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a few months after his wife was detained on October 2, 2018. Experts believe that Jamal was followed by Pegasus.

NSO Group, a subsidiary of Q Cyber ​​Technologies, did not respond to a request for comment. Highlighting the power of its technology, defense contractor L3 Harris negotiated the acquisition of a company but abandoned it after strong public pressure from the Biden administration, which blacklisted the spy company in 2021.

Elatr’s lawsuit alleges that Khashoggi has not been able to travel to the Middle East for several years due to fears for her physical safety, which has isolated her from her family, and is also unable to safely participate in social activities while constantly looking around.

The lawsuit, which seeks compensation and fines, denounces the NSO Group for its long history of violating “the basic principles of personal freedom and the fundamental right to privacy through the creation, sale and exploitation of high-tech and malicious spyware.”

According to the lawsuit, NSO Group’s actions resulted in “disastrous consequences, including intimidation, physical injury, damage and death,” and for Elatr Khashoggi, this intimidation resulted in “life changing forever.”

Earlier it became known that the digital rights group Access Now suspects that spyware Pegasus used by Azerbaijan for surveillance for at least 10 Armenian citizens (iPhone owners) between October 2020 and December 2022 due to the ongoing border conflict between the two countries. This is the first documented evidence of the use of Pegasus spyware in the context of a global war, the investigation claims.

Access Now believes that Pegasus was also used by Azerbaijan against its own citizens. Further research with fellow human rights groups Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories found that 245 Azerbaijanis may have been targeted.

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