משה פילבר
Shlomo Filber, former government official turned state witness in Netanyahu corruption trial, allegedly spied on by police through NSO
Photo: Uriel Cohen
NSO logo

Israel probe finds no widespread police misuse of NSO spyware

Justice Ministry review of alleged police's alleged widespread use of Pegasus probed all data pertaining to police tapping of devices using malware since it was first introduced into force; Likud rejects findings, calling them unreliable

Tova Tzimuki |
Updated: 02.21.22, 20:06
Israel said Monday it found no evidence that there was widespread misuse of the NSO spyware by the police as was alleged by earlier reports.
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  • The allegations of police misuse of the spyware first came to light in a report published by Ynet's sister outlet Calcalist, which has since said it stands behind the reporting.
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    טלפון נייד על רקע לוגו NSO
    טלפון נייד על רקע לוגו NSO
    NSO logo
    (Photo: AFP)
    The probe was conducted by the investigative body of the Justice Ministry.
    "The investigative team with the assistance of technology experts from Israel's security agencies, completed a thorough review of all the data pertaining to the police tapping of devices using the Pegasus software, since it was first put into operation by the force, including the data stored in the NSO servers," the report said.
    "According to NSO, the police were not given any access into its system other than through its customer interface and therefore the information stored there, cannot be altered."
    The probe did find misuse of the technology on the phone of Shlomo Filber, former director general of the communication's ministry who is a state witness in the corruption trial of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
    3 View gallery
    משה פילבר
    משה פילבר
    Shlomo Filber, former government official turned state witness in Netanyahu corruption trial, allegedly spied on by police through NSO
    (Photo: Uriel Cohen)
    According to the Calcalist report, investigators overstepped authority given to them by a court order.
    The probe did find, however, that no material illegally obtained from Filber's devices was used by investigators in the course of his questioning by police or was provided as evidence against him or his former boss, Netanyahu.
    The devices of the former premier's co-defendant Iris Elovich, wife of the communications mogul who is charged along with her husband with bribing Netanyahu, was hacked by the spyware, but within the parameters of a court order.
    Calcalist published consecutive investigative reports in which they asserted that the NSO spyware was systematically used against civilians, social activists and government officials, but offered no evidence of the claims.
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    משרדי חברת NSO
    משרדי חברת NSO
    The office of NSO group in Herzlia
    (Photo: Uriel Cohen)
    Netanyahu's Likud party issued a statement on Monday after the findings were first published, claiming the findings were unreliable and that the Justice Ministry and the police cannot be trusted to conduct a credible investigation of the matter because they themselves may be implicated.
    Netanyahu has long-claimed the charges against him were politically motivated and trumped up by former Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, his office and the police.

    First published: 20:01, 02.21.22
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