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Mexico Makes First Pegasus-related Arrest; Nabs Businessman for Spying on Journo

The man was reportedly linked to a company that served as a mediator between the NSO Group and Mexican authorities.

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In relation to the Pegasus reports, which revealed that the spyware made by the Israeli cyberweapons company NSO Group was used by governments for surveillance, the first arrest has been made in Mexico. A businessman has been charged with using the Pegasus spyware to spy on a journalist.

The businessman has not formally been named by Mexican prosecutors.

This comes months after a consortium of media outlets published a series of reports detailing how the phone numbers of thousands of Mexicans, including as many as 50 people linked to the country’s president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, appeared on a leaked list of numbers that were under possible surveillance.
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With about 15,000 phone numbers, Mexico had the largest list among more than 50,000 reportedly selected by NSO clients for potential surveillance, The Guardian reported.

The president himself had called the alleged use of the spyware “shameful” and stated that his own government would forbid using Pegasus.

Following the arrest, Mexican press freedom group Article 19 said in a statement, “We hope this will be the first step towards unravelling the framework of the illegal and abusive use of a [spying] tool, which infringes the most elemental principles of privacy, intimacy, and fundamental rights.”

As per reports the man was linked to a company that served as a mediator between the NSO Group and Mexican authorities.

Meanwhile, a NSO spokesperson reiterated that NSO’s technologies are only sold to vetted and approved government entities, and cannot be operated by private companies or individuals.

Mexican authorities stated that the country has spent about $300 million in government contracts to buy spyware in the past.

(With inputs from The Guardian.)

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