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Israel launches inquiry into police hacking claims

The Israeli government is allegedly setting up a commission of inquiry to examine allegations that the police used spyware produced by the NSO Group to hack the phones of Israeli public figures without authorization from the government. In Israel, officials, protesters, journalists, and a son of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were targeted without court orders. A witness in Mr. Netanyahu’s corruption trial was also allegedly targeted by the spyware. Current Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke out about the allegations, stating that the incident would be taken very seriously if the reports are found to be true.

NSO has faced widespread allegations that the spyware it produces, called Pegasus, has been sold too and misused by authoritarian governments across the world, who leverage the spyware’s abilities to illegally access sensitive information. The company insists that it does not operate the software once it has been sold to clients. The company has also denied reports that the software can be used to track Israeli citizens. NSO Group has not commented on the recently-opened inquiry. The Pegasus software infects phones and allows operators to view messages, photos, and emails, record calls, and activate microphones and cameras.

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