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US ‘black lists’ Israeli maker of Pegasus spyware

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WASHINGTON: US authorities on Wednesday put the Israeli maker of the Pegasus spyware on a list of restricted companies, taking aim at software central to a scandal over surveillance of journalists and officials.

The company, NSO, was engulfed in controversy over reports that tens of thousands of human rights activists, journalists, politicians and business executives worldwide were listed as potential targets of its Pegasus software.

Smartphones infected with Pegasus are essentially turned into pocket spying devices, allowing the user to read the target’s messages, look through their photos, track their location and even turn on their camera without them knowing.

“These tools have also enabled foreign governments to conduct repression, which is the practice of governments targeting dissidents, journalists and activists outside of their sovereign borders” the US Commerce Department said in a statement.

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