Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz will meet his French counterpart in Paris this week for talks which will include an “update” on the Pegasus spyware scandal, his office said on Tuesday.
A ministry statement said Gantz would be leaving on Wednesday for talks with French Defense Minister Florence Parly on topics such as the crisis in Lebanon, nuclear talks with Iran and the Pegasus malware from Israeli company NSO, which would have been used to target President Emmanuel Macron.
Pegasus, who is able to turn on a phone’s camera or microphone and harvest its data, is at the center of a storm after a list of around 50,000 potential surveillance targets is leaked to groups defense of human rights.
Amnesty International and the French nonprofit Forbidden Stories worked with a group of media companies, including the Washington Post, the Guardian and Le Monde, to analyze and publish the list.
Macron had to change his phone and number.
The Israeli Defense Ministry must approve NSO exports given the sensitive nature of the sector.
The Israeli defense establishment has set up a committee to review the affairs of the company, including the process by which export licenses are granted.
Pegasus’ list of suspected targets includes at least 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists and 65 business leaders.
NSO insists its software is only intended for use in the fight against terrorism and other crimes, and says it exports to 45 countries.
© 2021 AFP