The Pegasus Project Investigation and What Has Happened Since it Broke: a Zoom program Wednesday September 15 at 1:00 pm ET

Digital surveillance pervades our society, and new technologies offer more power than ever to track every aspect of our daily lives. The danger of abuse has never been greater. In most countries, there are no effective rules or standards limiting private companies that sell surveillance technology to governments or others.

Excerpt from Letter from the Editor, Sallie Buzbee, explaining why the Washington Post joined the Pegasus Project (July 18, 2021)


Natalia Krapiva, Tech-Legal Counsel, Access Now, Berlin, Germany

The Pegasus Project is an international investigative journalism consortium, led by Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, that revealed governments’ espionage on journalists, opposition politicians, activists, businesspeople and others, using the private Pegasus spyware developed by the Israeli technology firm NSO Group. Pegasus was marketed for surveillance of “serious crimes and terrorism” to such countries as Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Hungary, Turkey, India, and Germany, among others.

In July 2021, the Pegasus Project published their analysis of 50,000 leaked phone numbers selected by NSO clients since 2016.  The consortium was able to identify more than 1,000 people from more than 50 countries, the list included several Arab royal family members, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and more than 600 politicians and government officials – including cabinet ministers, diplomats, and military and security officers, as well as several heads of state and prime ministers.

More than half of the phones inspected by Amnesty International’s cybersecurity team revealed evidence of the Pegasus spyware, a zero-click Trojan virus that provides the attacker full access to the targeted smartphone, its data, images, photographs and conversations as well as camera, microphone and geolocation. 

Natalia Krapiva will discuss the Pegasus Project and place it within broader efforts to investigate and hold accountable companies like NSO Group and governments that use their services. She will discuss the new and ongoing litigation efforts, domestic and international advocacy, as well as what role lawyers can play in the fight against spyware abuses.

Access Now is a digital rights organization that defends and extends the digital rights of users at risk around the world through technical support, comprehensive policy engagement, global advocacy, grassroots grantmaking, legal interventions, and convenings such as RightsCon. Access Now’s Digital Security Helpline offers real-time, direct technical assistance and advice to civil society groups & activists, media organizations, journalists, bloggers, and human rights defenders.

Zoom Meeting Link:

(Pre-registration is not required; replay is available to ABA Members only.)

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