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marți, 21 septembrie 2021 - 14:46

Israel Defence Minister to visit France to discuss NSO, Iran

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Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz will travel to France this week to discuss spyware sold by Israeli cyber firm NSO, that was allegedly used to target French President Emmanuel Macron, according to Reuters. 

Macron’s phone was on a list of targets that were possibly under surveillance by Morocco, which used NSO Group’s Pegasus software, according to France’s Le Monde newspaper. The French leader has called for an investigation.

“Gantz will meet French Defence Minister Florence Parly on Wednesday. He will discuss the crisis in Lebanon and the developing agreement with Iran and will also update the minister on the topic of NSO,” said an official Israeli statement.

Israel‘s Defence Ministry oversees commercial exports of spyware and cyber-surveillance technologies like Pegasus.

A global investigation published last week by 17 media organisations, led by the Paris-based non-profit journalism group Forbidden Stories, said Pegasus had been used in attempted and successful hacks of smartphones belonging to journalists, government officials and human rights activists.

Israel has since set up a senior inter-ministerial team to assess any possible misuse of the spyware.

“NSO rejected the reports, saying it was “full of wrong assumptions and uncorroborated theories”. Pegasus is intended for use only by government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism and crime,” stated the company.

Gantz’s trip was planned before the NSO affair and was meant to focus on the growing economic crisis in Lebanon, which shares a border with Israel, and on world powers’ efforts to resume a nuclear deal with Iran, Israeli media said

France’s foreign ministry said on Monday that Iran was endangering the chance of concluding an accord with world powers over reviving the deal if it did not return to the negotiating table soon.