Oviedo / TEH: A study conducted by the Canadian company “Citizen Lab” revealed that at least 63 Catalan separatists in Spain were attacked by the Israeli spyware “Pegasus”.
This is the largest documented set of attacks recorded by Citizen Lab, a research institution at the University of Toronto, Canada.
According to a recent report by the company, since 2010 several Catalan separatist politicians, including the president of Catalonia, have been targeted with Pegasus spyware, as well as academics, activists and NGOs.
Commenting on the report, the current Catalan regional president, Pierre Aragones, on Monday criticized the mass espionage, calling it a “serious attack on basic rights and democracy, and another example of repression against a peaceful civil movement.”
The report did not attribute the spying operations to a specific entity, but stated that “Circumstantial evidence suggests a strong relationship with the Government of Spain, including the nature and objectives of the victims, the timing, and the fact that Spain is a government customer of NSO Group.” ) (spyware developer).
Pegasus is spy software developed and sold by Israel-based NSO Group.
The report also notes that there is “complete surveillance of Catalan politicians in certain categories”, and that the total number of victims and targets is likely to be much higher than 63 individuals.
The report indicated that “most of the accidents occurred between 2017 and 2020.”
In 2017, the Catalan government held an illegal referendum on independence, in an attempt to secede from Spain.
After that, many politicians fled the country, 12 leaders were tried on several charges including sedition, and 9 of them were sentenced to several years in prison, but were later pardoned in 2021.
During the past months, the same spyware has been used by many countries to spy on dissidents, journalists, social activists, and politicians around the world.