According to information shared by the newspaper The world, the French authorities are considering creating a new software whose objective is to be able to access the content of any mobile without informing its owner. Everything would of course be remotely controlled so as not to arouse suspicion, which is authorized by law under certain conditions since 2017.
This solution is obviously not unlike that of Pegasus, another spyware designed this time by the Israeli company NSO Group and which caused a scandal when public opinion learned that governments were its main buyers. Apple has since rolled out a patch for iOS to fight against these hacks, but since they are based on zero-day flaws discovered through extensive research, it is likely that it is only about ‘a sword in the water. In the same vein, we can also cite the tool of GrayShift, an American company this time.
NSO Group repressed
If the DGSI (Directorate General for Internal Security) has chosen to embark on this project, it is above all because a possible contract to acquire Pegasus would in fact not have been finalized upstream. This is also information from the World that the officials obviously did not confirm orally. This is understandable, because the questions about the human rights violations that can result from it are far from drying up since the confidentiality scandals make the headlines every week.
The amount of these negotiations is also unknown, but it is known that this is not the only barrier to entry for a client. It is rumored that Benny Gantz’s defense ministry must give its approval before each delivery. Among the states that would have benefited from it, a Forbidden Stories cited Morocco, Bahrain and Hungary, among others.
What are the risks for the opposition?
In the event that it has not already been completed for a long time or is simply in the process of being updated, the DGSI spyware could prove to be more than harmful to democracy. Indeed, under the guise of the fight against terrorism, the leaders could then call on them to target social rights demonstrators, more and more numerous in recent years, or even environmental activists (ZAD, Greenpeace, hunting).
Edwy Plenel (Mediapart) had also been listed among the victims of Pegasus previously, his iPhone having been infected. Of course, other media such as the Chained Duck may also find themselves closely scrutinized.