With Pegasus and NSO Group are quickly fading from the headlines amidst the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the Israel Police Department is eager to resume its use of spyware to monitor mobile phone communications.
The Israel Police last month were ordered to halt all use of spyware in their crime-fighting efforts after it was reported that NSO Group’s sophisticated Pegasus program had not only been sold to unscrupulous foreign entities, but was used to spy on Israeli citizens.
Subsequent investigations carried out by the Israel Police and the Attorney General’s Office found the report to be false, and there were threats of a lawsuit against the publication that carried the bombshell allegation.
Meanwhile, police officials are pressing the government to allow them to resume use of spyware (though they did not mention Pegasus specifically), insisting that it is crucial in their efforts to fight crime in the Jewish state.
Those involved in organized crime regularly make use of encrypted messaging apps to communicate, making it difficult for the authorities to monitor their activities. Software like Pegasus gives the police a real advantage in preventing crime and apprehending those responsible.
The Knesset Public Security Committee is said to be in favor of allowing police to resume use of spyware, and a decision on the matter is expected in the near future.