Jordan: journalists targeted in Pegasus spyware hacking

  • 11 Apr 2022

The NUJ has condemned the hacking of four individuals using sophisticated spyware between August 2019 and December 2021.

A new report has exposed the use of Pegasus spyware on the phones of four individuals including journalists in Jordan. The NUJ has previously condemned use of the spyware to interfere with the private communications of journalists, and joins the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in calling on the Jordanian government to launch an investigation uncovering its users.

Developed by Israeli surveillance company NSO, Pegasus can be placed on communications devices remotely, and allows the company's clients to secretly monitor confidential information including calls, emails and locations. In 2021, a report by Forbidden Stories revealed 180 journalists globally, had been spied on using Pegasus software. 

Individuals targeted in this hacking include award-winning journalist Suhair Jaradat who has expressed anger at the privacy breaches she experienced during the six occasions it occurred. As data accessed can span a range of applications and call logs, she fears hackers may have sought information on her sources.  According to the report by human rights group Front Line Defenders and Citizen lab, three other individuals targeted in the hack include human rights defenders. 

The Jordanian National Cyber Security Centre has denied any spying took place stating "Jordan didn't cooperate with any agent to spy on citizens' phones or monitor their calls." 

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"We strictly condemn any attempt to interfere with journalists’ private communications, undermining democracy and the public's right to know.

"We urge the Jordanian government to launch a full investigation into this case and urge governments across the world to adopt strict regulations that ban surveillance of journalists and recognise the inviolability of journalists' communications."

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