May 30, 2023

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Pegasus: Top Franco-Israeli meeting in Paris –

A high-level meeting between Israeli and French officials recently took place in Paris in an effort to defuse tensions over the revelations of the Pegasus spyware, Elysee confirmed the press reports on Friday.

There was a fruitful session of strategic dialogue between Elysee’s diplomatic adviser Emmanuel Fon and Emmanuel Macron’s close associate and Israeli national security adviser Iyal Hulatta. Media Axios. “We are asking for guarantees on the NSO issue and we are doing it together with the Israelis,” Elysee said.

According to Axios, Eyal Hulata came to Paris to make proposals to try to defuse tensions between the two countries after the French side of the Pegasus affair.

At least five French ministers and the mobile phones of an embassy attached to the Elysee Palace have been infected with spyware, sources close to the matter told AFP in late September.

Phones were compromised in 2019 and 2020 and during a review of French security services showed markers for spyware infection marketed by the Israeli company NSO. NSO markets the software, but explains that it does not use it, which is done by its customers.

According to Axios, Mr Hulada proposed that the NSO declare French phones untouchable in future negotiations with potential customers, a ban that US and UK phones already enjoy. A source familiar with the matter confirmed to AFP that the option was on the table between the two sides.

A source close to the NSO said that in early October, the group followed very strict rules before granting its customers the right to use its software, granting various exemptions. Another source close to the NSO said the group had already laid off several customers, believing that there was no adequate guarantee for the proper use of its product.

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Mr. Hulada and Mr. Neither the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office nor the NSO commented on the meeting between the two.

Axios did not say whether the Israeli proposal had been accepted, but said Israeli officials believe the crisis over the issue is nearing completion. None of the sources interviewed by the AFP commented on the evolution of the exchanges.

The investigation, released by the Federation of 17 International Media Associations on July 18, found that Pegasus software could have spied on at least 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists or 65 leaders from around the world. Several complaints have been lodged in France claiming to be victims of the software.

Allegedly using Moroccan software, Rabat denied it, spoke of “false and unsubstantiated allegations” and initiated numerous legal proceedings in France, Spain and Germany.

Pegasus software, once installed on a mobile phone, allows the user to spy on the device, access his mailboxes, his data, or activate the device remotely for the purpose of capturing sound or pictures.