An investigation into Israel's police use of NSO spyware revealed there was no widespread violation of the law.
An inquiry panel presented its finding on Thursday to Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara and said that although the police overstepped the authority given by the courts in a small number of cases, there was no mass infection of phones with the Pegasus or its more limited version, Saifan.
Last January, Ynet's sister publication Calcalist reported that the police's SIGINT unit has been allegedly employing the controversial malware to spy on civilians. Including on political activists.
The Israel Police denied the report. "We would like to put things into perspective: There is no basis for these allegations. All activity of the Israel Police is according to the law, on the basis of court orders and strict work procedures," said the police in a statement.
After a six-month investigation of the media allegations, the panel, which included two former members of the Shin Bet and one retired Mossad member, said all intercomputer communications initiated by the police, were within their legal purview.
The probe also revealed that the police cannot access the internal data base of the NSO company and is limited to use of the dedicated interface provided by the tech firm, and therefore is unable to manipulate of change data.
Calcalist in its earlier reporting claimed among those targeted by the police in what they alleged were illegal hacking practices, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son Avner and some of his close aids, was also surveilled.
At the time Netanyahu likened the alleged unauthorized use by cops of the military-grade spyware to the Israeli military bombing civilians.
But the media reports also alleged the technology was used against Netanyahu opponents, including protesters in the mass demonstrations calling for former premier's ouster because of the charges brought against him for corruption.