© AFP Archivbild
The Israeli security company NSO stands accused of contributing to an excessive global surveillance programme with its "Pegasus" software.
Journalists from numerous countries teamed up and recently published a series of articles about the "Pegasus" project, which had allegedly been used to spy on opposition politicians, journalists and public figures.
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Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn reacted to the story on Tuesday, saying that at this time he knows of no export licenses to have been granted to NSO's two branch offices in Luxembourg, nor had there been a request by the company. Should there be a direct link between Luxembourg and NSO's spying operation, then this would require immediate investigating, the minister said.
According to the Asselborn's information, NSO's Luxembourg-based branches never applied for export licences. Instead, the offices in the Grand Duchy are only being used as "back offices". Asselborn stated that he thinks it is now up to Israel to launch a probe into the behaviour of the company. Amnesty International has also confirmed that the controversial software did not originate from the Grand Duchy.
Traces hinting at attempted or successful hacking attacks were found on 37 smartphones belonging to journalists and politicians as well as their family members.
Pegasus exploits oversights and weak points in smartphone software to gain access to nearly all data on the device. NSO, the creator of the software, has rejected the accusations. But should they turn out to be true then the software would constitute a human rights violation.