Spyware

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Drawing of a hand holding a phone that displays an eye while spyware downloads. Audiovisual icons show the range of media spyware can access or activate.

New Report: Spyware poses an existential crisis for journalism and threatens press freedom around the world

New York, October 13, 2022 — The development of high-tech “zero-click” spyware – the kind that takes over phones without a user’s knowledge – has had a chilling impact on press freedom, finds a new special report released today by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The report, Zero-Click Spyware: Enemy of the Press, found the mere threat…

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In India’s hardest-hit newsroom, surveilled reporters fear for their families and future journalists

M.K. Venu, a founding editor at India’s independent non-profit news site The Wire, says he has become used to having his phone tapped in the course of his career. But that didn’t diminish his shock last year when he learned that he, along with at least five others from The Wire, were among those listed…

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For Mexican journalists, President López Obrador’s pledge to curb spyware rings hollow

“Practically nothing.” RíoDoce magazine editor Andrés Villarreal spoke with a sigh and a hint of resignation as he described what came of Mexico’s investigation into the attempted hacking of his cell phone. “The federal authorities never contacted me personally. They told us informally that it wasn’t them, but that’s it.” Over five years have passed…

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In Morocco, journalists – and their families – still struggle to cope with spyware fears

By CPJ MENA Staff Last July, when the Pegasus Project investigation revealed that imprisoned Moroccan journalist Soulaiman Raissouni was selected for surveillance by Israeli-made Pegasus spyware, the journalist could only laugh.  “I was so sure,” his wife Kholoud Mokhtari said Raissouni told her from prison.  Raissouni is one of seven local journalists named by the…

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Hungarian journalists targeted by spyware have little hope EU can help

Szabolcs Panyi was not even remotely surprised when Amnesty International’s tech team confirmed in 2021 that his cell phone had been infiltrated by Pegasus spyware for much of 2019. Panyi, a journalist covering national security, high-level diplomacy, and corruption for Hungarian investigative outlet Direkt36, had already long factored into his everyday work that his communications…

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David Kaye: Here’s what world leaders must do about spyware

In late June, the general counsel of NSO Group, the Israeli company responsible for the deeply intrusive spyware tool, Pegasus, appeared before a committee established by members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Called the PEGA Committee colloquially, the Parliament established it to investigate allegations that EU member states and others have used “Pegasus and equivalent…

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CPJ recommendations to protect journalists against spyware 

The arbitrary or unlawful use of spyware technologies violates human rights and causes direct damage to journalists and their ability to report freely and safely. These recommendations are necessary to protect journalists and their sources. For all governments For the U.S. government  For European Union institutions  For companies For international organizations  See CPJ’s 2021 policy…

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Drawing of a hand holding a phone that displays an eye while spyware downloads. Audiovisual icons show the range of media spyware can access or activate.

MEDIA ADVISORY: CPJ to publish comprehensive report on the threat to journalism posed by zero-click spyware

New York — On Thursday, October 13 the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) will publish a report on the global impact of malicious spyware on journalism. Coming one year after the Pegasus Papers first shed light on the scale and scope of how one company’s software was weaponized by government officials to target journalists, the…

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At least 2 Mexican journalists targeted by Pegasus spyware since López Obrador took office

Mexico City, October 3, 2022 – In response to a joint report published Sunday that found Pegasus spyware infected the devices of two Mexican journalists and a human rights defender between 2019 and 2021, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement: “This new report definitively shows that Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador…

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In 2022, journalist killings continue unabated in Mexico amid a climate of impunity

At least 13 journalists have been killed in Mexico in the first eight months of 2022, the highest number the Committee to Protect Journalists has ever documented in the country in a single year. In a country characterized by corruption and organized crime, it’s unclear how many were targeted directly because of their work. CPJ…

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