NYT claims Mexico’s government spies on journalists and activists

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This Monday, the New York Times reported that human rights defenders, journalists and anti-corruption activists in Mexico have allegedly been spied on by the Federal Government with Israeli software called Pegasus, capable of monitoring calls, text messages, e-mails, contacts and calendars and it can even use the microphone and camera phones for surveillance.

According to the investigations of the American diary, the people watched are lawyers who investigate the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa, an economist who helped draft an anti-corruption bill, journalists Carlos Loret de Mola and Carmen Aristegui; Juan Pardinas and Alexandra Zapata, of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO); The journalists Daniel Lizarraga and Salvador Camarena, of the Mexican organization Against Corruption and Impunity; And an American who represents victims of sexual abuse committed by the police.

The New York Times reports that the Mexican government has spent nearly 80 million dollars on spying programs of the Israeli-based NSO Group since 2011.

The US dairy confirmed, with the help of independent forensic analysts, that Pegasus has been used to monitor critics of the government as well as their families.

Juan Pardinas, CEO of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, who drafted and promoted the anti-corruption legislation popularly called Ley “3de3” (3for3), is one of those affected by such espionage. His iPhone and his wife’s were repeatedly targeted by the spying program, according to an independent forensic analysis.

Journalist Carmen Aristegui was another target of Pegasus: an operator who claimed to be calling on behalf of the US embassy in Mexico asked her to click on a link to solve an alleged problem with her visa.

Seeing Aristegui’s refusal to click on those links, in March, the text messages reached Emilio, her 16-year-old son.

The New York Times reported that Pegasus software leaves no trace of the hacker who used it.

Mario Patrón, director of the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights (Centro Prodh), was another espionage victim.

He received on his cell phone a text message related to the investigations of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) about a note he was waiting for, but the link led him to a blank page; that’s how Pegasus downloaded into his phone.

Patrón is the director of the organization that represents the parents of missing students and is arguably the most respected human rights advocacy group in Mexico. He is involved in several of the most serious human rights abuses in the country and has been a major critic of the government.

Stephanie Brewer, an American lawyer who has worked with the group since 2007, is another target identified by The New York Times.

Brewer installed the spyware on her phone when she received a suspicious text message that questioned why the Prodh Center did not also defend soldiers and police victims of abuse. The lawyer opened the link and this led to a corrupt website, an indication of Pegasus software, the newspaper said.

After The New York Times reported on this matter, those involved called for a press conference at today at 13:00 hours where they will speak out.
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Autor original: Newsroom

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