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Report: Police used invasive tech by 2nd Israeli company to target activists

Illustrative: Israelis march in protest against then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the entrance to Jerusalem, on January 30, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Illustrative: Israelis march in protest against then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the entrance to Jerusalem, on January 30, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Police used invasive tech tools by a second Israeli company, not just NSO Group, to target protesters and activists, according to a report on Channel 12 news.

After a bombshell report this morning claiming that police used the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware against Israeli civilians, including anti-Netanyahu protesters and other activists, Channel 12 claims that the police also used tech tools from the Israeli company Cellebrite.

At least one protester active in the movement to oust former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu found Cellebrite software on their phone, the report alleges.

Police officials have maintained that most of the report’s claims are false. Police chief Kobi Shabtai did not deny that it used such spyware, but said that any such usage was always approved by the appropriate legal authorities, and he categorically denied it being deployed against anti-Netanyahu protesters, known as “Black Flag” protesters.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman has vowed to investigate the claims, as multiple lawmakers have pressed for an inquiry.

Cellebrite has also been the target of global criticism for its alleged use against activists and protesters in other countries.

This entry was edited to correct the description of Israeli company Cellebrite, which does not have spyware. The company develops forensic digital tools.

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