the investigation in France entrusted to an investigating judge

“A judicial investigation was opened against X today by the cyber section of the Paris prosecutor’s office” relating to a large number of potential offenses, among them, the invasion of privacy.

The Paris prosecutor’s office on Friday July 1 entrusted an investigating judge with the investigation in France into the use of the Pegasus spyware which had caused an international scandal, AFP learned from a source familiar with the matter. .

The prosecution confirmed thata judicial investigation was opened against X today by the cyber section of the Paris public prosecutor’s officecovering a wide range of potential offences, including invasion of privacy or fraudulent use ofautomated data processing systems“, some of whom “implemented by the state“. In detail, this information is open for “fraudulent access and maintenance in an automated data processing system, introduction of data into such a system, extraction of data from such a system, possession, reproduction and transmission of data from such a system».

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Multiple offenses

It also covers the offenses of “association of criminals, interception of correspondence sent by electronic means, installation of devices likely to allow such interception, possession and dissemination of words or images infringing privacy, offer, transfer or making available and possession, offer or sale of equipment designed to allow an attack on an automated data processing system“. Finally, it also concerns offenses relating to the administration:access and maintenance in an automated data processing system implemented by the State in an organized band, introduction, extraction, detention, reproduction and transmission of data from an automated data processing system implemented by the State in an organized gang».

The consortium of 17 international media had revealed that the Pegasus software, designed by the Israeli company NSO Group, would have made it possible to spy on the numbers of at least 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists and 65 business leaders from different countries. NSO, regularly accused of playing into the hands of authoritarian regimes, had assured that its software was only used to obtain information against criminal or terrorist networks.

Its computer tool Pegasus, considered a “armed» by the Israeli defense which must give the green light to its export, makes it possible to remotely activate the cameras and the microphones of a smartphone. It is sold in particular to governments. These revelations sparked worldwide outrage from human rights organizations, the media and political leaders. Many of them had taken legal action in return.

«ultimate hope»

«Cooperation with the Israeli authorities will necessarily have to be sought even if it is without guarantee. Beyond that, the elements collected must make it possible to consider the summons of NSO by the investigating judge“, reacted My Vincent Brengarth and William Bourdon, lawyers in particular for Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the National Union of Journalists and several journalists. This survey isthe last hope of revealing the truth and punishing the culpritssaid RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire.

Me Joseph Breham, lawyer for other plaintiffs including the SNJ CGT union, the daily l’Humanité, elected officials and journalists, “rejoiced” only “independent magistrates» be seized of the file. “Let’s hope that these investigations make it possible to demonstrate what seems indisputable: the Moroccan power has spied on French politicians, journalists, lawyers and activists, without this disturbing the French leaders too much.“, added Me Breham.

Survey in several countries

The Cherifian kingdom had formally denied “these false allegationsand launched several defamation proceedings in France against several media, the Forbidden Stories consortium and Amnesty International. In France, these lawsuits were declared inadmissible, but Morocco’s lawyer had announced his intention to appeal.

In Spain, justice indicated in early June that the judge investigating the espionage of several members of the Spanish government, including Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, wanted to question the boss of the NSO company in Israel. The European Parliament set up a special committee of inquiry in March into alleged use of spyware or other surveillance software in the European Union (EU), including Hungary and Poland.

The case has sparked numerous legal proceedings around the world. Apple, for example, announced in November that it had filed a complaint in the United States against NSO, because Pegasus would have been used to target iPhone users. The Apple giant has also asked the American courts to permanently ban NSO programs on Apple brand devices and services.

SEE ALSO – Pegasus case: “It’s an attack on Israeli democracy”, comments an analyst