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Israeli Panel To Review Potential Misuse Of NSO Spyware Around World

Israel has established a committee to review allegations that NSO Group’s controversial Pegasus phone surveillance software was misused, the head of Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee said Thursday.

“The defense establishment appointed a review committee made up of a number of bodies,” lawmaker Ram Ben-Barak told Army Radio.

“When they finish their review, we’ll demand to see the results and assess whether we need to make corrections,” the former deputy head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency added.

Ben-Barak said Israel’s priority was “to review this whole matter of giving licenses.”

Pegasus had “exposed many terror cells,” he said, but “if it was misused or sold to irresponsible bodies, this is something we need to check.”

In a statement on Monday, the Defense Ministry said if it finds that the NSO Group violated the terms of its export licenses, it will “take appropriate action.”

The ministry said that Israel only permits companies to export cybersecurity products to “government figures only for legal purposes and to prevent and investigate crimes and to combat terrorism. And this is dependent upon commitments regarding the end use/user from the purchasing country, which must abide by these conditions.”

Pegasus has been implicated in possible mass surveillance of journalists, human rights defenders and 14 heads of state, whose phone numbers were among some 50,000 potential surveillance targets on a list leaked to rights group Amnesty International and Paris-based Forbidden Stories.

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