Amnesty International said that Bahrain is a repressive state that pursues spyware using Israeli techniques to pursue activists and opponents.
The organization stated that Bahrain is on the list of 11 countries where spyware devised by the Israeli NSO Group was used to spy on heads of state, activists, and journalists.
A large-scale investigation into the data leak of 50,000 phone numbers apparently targeted for surveillance revealed that NSO Group’s spyware was used to facilitate massive human rights abuses around the world.
Among the targets of this espionage are heads of state, activists, and journalists, including the family of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Pegasus Project is a ground-breaking collaboration by more than 80 journalists from 17 media organizations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media non-profit, with the technical support of Amnesty International, who conducted cutting- edge forensic tests on mobile phones to identify traces of the spyware.
“The Pegasus Project lays bare how NSO’s spyware is a weapon of choice for repressive governments seeking to silence journalists, attack activists and crush dissent, placing countless lives in peril,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
“These revelations blow apart any claims by NSO that such attacks are rare and down to rogue use of their technology. While the company claims its spyware is only used for legitimate criminal and terror investigations, it’s clear its technology facilitates systemic abuse. They paint a picture of legitimacy, while profiting from widespread human rights violations.”
“Clearly, their actions pose larger questions about the wholesale lack of regulation that has created a wild west of rampant abusive targeting of activists and journalists. Until this company and the industry as a whole can show it is capable of respecting human rights, there must be an immediate moratorium on the export, sale, transfer and use of surveillance technology.”