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European spyware investigators criticize Israel and Poland amid NSO scandal

The NSO Group logo is seen on a smartphone placed on a laptop keyboard. (Mundissima/Alamy)
The NSO Group logo is seen on a smartphone placed on a laptop keyboard. (Mundissima/Alamy)

European Parliament members investigating the use of surveillance spyware by European Union governments sharply criticized Israel for a lack of transparency in allowing the sale of powerful Israeli spyware to European governments that have used it against critics.

The European lawmakers also condemn the Polish government for refusing to meet with them during a fact-finding visit to Warsaw.

“It is regrettable and we condemn the fact that the Polish authorities did not want to cooperate with our investigation committee,” Jeroen Lenaers, the head of the delegation, says at a news conference in Warsaw.

“We think it also is a telling sign of the complete lack of importance this government attaches to checks and balances, to democratic scrutiny and to dialog with elected representatives.”

The committee is investigating the use by governments of Israel’s Pegasus spyware and other invasive surveillance tools, viewing such technology as a threat to democracy in the 27-nation bloc.

Pegasus was developed by Israel’s NSO Group and is designed to breach mobile phones and extract vast amounts of information from them, including text messages, passwords, locations and microphone and camera recordings. The company markets the technology as a tool to target criminals but many cases have been discovered worldwide of governments using it against dissidents, journalists and political opponents.

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