SA President Among World Leaders Targeted With Surveillance Spy-ware

President Cyril Ramaphosa has been named in a leaked database at the heart of the Pegasus Project which includes cellphone numbers of government leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, according to an investigation conducted by the Guardian.

Advertisement
 

President Cyril Ramaphosa's cellphone number is reported to have been listed as a possible target of surveillance in a leaked database at the heart of the Pegasus Project which includes the cellphone numbers of 13 other heads of state such as French President Emmanuel Macron and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to the Guardian.

According to IOL the Pegasus Project is a collaborative journalistic investigation into the Israeli NSO Group and its clients. The NSO Group sells surveillance technology to governments across the world.

Its flagship product is Pegasus, spying software – or spyware – that targets iPhones and Android devices. Once a phone is infected, a Pegasus operator can secretly extract chats, photos, emails, and location data, or activate microphones and cameras without the user knowing. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa appears to have been selected by Rwanda in 2019.

In response to the Guardian investigation, a spokesperson for the Rwandan government said the country, “does not use this software system and does not possess this technical capability in any form.”

These revelations by the Guardian have raised concerns about the use of surveillance software for purposes other than pursuing criminals and terrorists for which the software was intended to be used. One concerned privacy activist who raised an alarm about such software is Edward Snowden.

However, NSO is reported to have told the Guardian that just because a number had appeared on the leaked list, does not mean it had been subjected to a hack. The company also said it requires government clients to use Pegasus for legitimate investigations into terrorism or crime.

The South African presidency is yet to respond or comment on the matter.

Article Category

Other Articles

South Africa will receive a donation of Pfizer vaccines on Saturday from the United States of America (USA). The Department of Health has confirmed the arrival of the vaccines this week. Read further for more details.

Over 20 South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) offices were burnt and vandalised during the looting unrest across KwaZulu-Natal. SASSA says the damage will cost billions of rands to fully resume it operations

South Africa celebrates the two first silver medals won in swimming and Surfing codes at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Read further for more.

The Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula’s, grace with the 2020 driving license extension is coming to an end. The cut off date for when drivers should renew their licenses has now been issued. Read further for more details.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the return of the unemployed relief grant in his speech last Sunday. The R350 grant is announced to resume on a date that will still be communicated up until March 2022.