According to government spokesman Gabriel Attal, Emmanuel Macron, The President of France, called a national security meeting on Thursday to discuss the Israeli-made Pegasus spyware after reports about its use in France emerged this week.
While addressing a source, Attal said that the president is following this subject closely and takes it very seriously, and added that the unscheduled national security meeting would be “dedicated to the Pegasus issue and the question of cybersecurity”.
On Wednesday an official at Israeli cybersecurity company NSO group said that the firm’s Pegasus spyware tool was not used to target French President Emmanuel Macron. Chaim Gelfand, chief compliance officer at NSO Group said, “We can specifically come out and say for sure that the president of France, Macron, was not a target.”
He also mentioned that in some cases which are brought up that the firm isn’t comfortable with, the firm usually approaches the customer and has a whole long discussion to try to understand what were his legitimate reasons, if any, to use the system.
The remarks were made after Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett asked the NSO group to impose an immediate moratorium on surveillance technology exports until a protective regulatory framework has been established.
Earlier, a list was leaked of 50,000 phone numbers believed to have been chosen by clients of NSO Group. The numbers included those of Macron and 13 other heads of state. Amnesty International and Forbidden Stories that obtained the list, said NSO’s government clients include Bahrain, India, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda and Saudi Arabia.
According to sources, nearly 200 journalists were on the list. Deloire stated that enabling governments to install spyware that is used in practice to monitor hundreds of journalists and their sources throughout the world poses a major democratic problem.