French Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies what sources told MIT Tech Review while UK government won’t say whether it is a customer

Live stream of an interview of French President Emmanuel Macron, one of several French politicians alleged to have been targeted by Pegasus spyware (AFP)By Dania Akkad

Published date: 23 November 2021 14:45 UTC | Last update: 1 hour 3 mins ago

The French government was finalising plans to buy NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware in July but cut off negotiations when it realised politicians, including President Emmanuel Macron, may have been targeted with the product, sources told MIT Technology Review which reported the story on Tuesday.

After the story’s publication, France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that it had been in the process of purchasing NSO Group products.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) declined to say whether the UK government is an NSO Group customer when MEE asked this week. 

An FCDO spokesperson said: “While we do not comment on operational matters, the UK’s intelligence agencies are governed by a robust regulatory framework to ensure our capabilities are always used in a way that is legal, necessary and proportionate.”Pegasus: UK government complained to Israel over NSO operationsRead More »

NSO Group has come under fire following a series of stories released by a consortium of media outlets this summer which alleged that Pegasus was used to target politicians, journalists and activists.

Last month, the US government blacklisted the company, and a second Israeli spyware firm, Candiru, saying their activities were contrary to US foreign policy and national security interests.

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