The database leaked within the framework of the Pegasus project includes the mobile phone numbers of French President Emmanuel Macron and 13 other heads of state and government, as revealed The Guardian.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also figure in the data, which includes diplomats, military leaders and senior political officials from 34 countries.
The appearance of a number on the leaked list that includes numbers selected by governments that are customers of NSO Group, the Israeli spyware company, does not mean that it was the subject of a hacking attempt or a hack. NSO insists that the database has “no relevance” to the company.
NSO claims that Macron is not a “target” of any of its clients, which means that the company denies that it has been selected for surveillance by Pegasus, its spyware. The company adds that the fact that a number appears on the list is in no way indicative that that number has been selected to be monitored with Pegasus.
But the list is believed to be indicative of individuals identified as persons of concern by government clients of NSO. It includes people who were subsequently subjected to surveillance.
NSO insists that it requires its government clients to only use its powerful spy tools for legitimate terrorism or crime investigations.
The Guardian and other media partners with the Pegasus project, an international consortium, have identified governments believed to be responsible for the selection of individual numbers in the data, closely examining the selection patterns.
Among the political figures whose numbers appear on the list is Emmanuel Macron, the French president, who appears to have been selected as a person of interest by Morocco in 2019. “If this is proven, it is clearly very serious. All the light will be shed on these. journalistic revelations, “says an Elysee source.