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Reporters Without Borders urges Israel to suspend spyware exports

The logo of the Israeli NSO Group company on a building where they had offices in Herzliya, on August 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Daniella Cheslow)
The logo of the Israeli NSO Group company on a building where they had offices in Herzliya, on August 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Daniella Cheslow)

Reporters Without Borders urges Israel to suspend exports of spying technology amid allegations it was used to target more than a dozen heads of state and hundreds of journalists.

“We call on Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to impose an immediate moratorium on surveillance technology exports until a protective regulatory framework has been established,” RSF head Christophe Deloire of the Paris-based group says in a statement.

His call came after a list was leaked of some 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been chosen by clients of Israel’s NSO Group for possible surveillance, according to an international reporting effort.

The list contained numbers for 14 heads of state including French President Emmanuel Macron and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

NSO’s flagship program Pegasus can hack into mobile phones without users knowing, enabling clients to read every message, track a user’s location and tap into the phone’s camera and microphone.

“Enabling governments to install spyware that is used in practice to monitor hundreds of journalists and their sources throughout the world poses a major democratic problem,” Deloire says.

Spokespeople for NSO, Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz don’t respond to questions from AFP on Wednesday.

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