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Pegasus Project found numbers of Ten PMs, three presidents and a king (washingtonpost.com)
51 points by scottbucks 4 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 18 comments

“But here’s who’s on the list: Three sitting presidents, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Iraq’s Barham Salih and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa.

Three current prime ministers, Pakistan’s Imran Khan, Egypt’s Mostafa Madbouly and Morocco’s Saad-Eddine El Othmani.

Seven former prime ministers, who according to time stamps on the list were placed there while they were still in office: Yemen’s Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, Lebanon’s Saad Hariri, Uganda’s Ruhakana Rugunda, France’s Édouard Philippe, Kazakhstan’s Bakitzhan Sagintayev, Algeria’s Noureddine Bedoui and Belgium’s Charles Michel.

And one king: Morocco’s Mohammed VI.”

Here I was, thinking: "why are they interested in product managers"?

Working in tech screws up you associations...

Hahaha same here

This got me too!

haha chuckled

I can understand governments spying on each other. Here I understand though that it's (also?) governments spying on opposition, parties spying on each other, and probably many private entities (mob?) spying on whoever they see fit.

> mob?

I'd have thought it _much_ more likely to be corporate entities wanting information on local officials, other corporations, etc.

I'm thinking based on incidents like Coca-Cola paying paramilitary groups/mercenaries to form death squads to quash unions at their factories[1] or Nestlé's malfeasant water acquisitions[2].

[1]: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1448962.stm

[2]: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/29/the-figh...

lol, CocaCola plants turn up cocaine trafficking all the time, surely that's not someone's black budget gone global

The worst thing IMO it enables the regimes who are too technically inept and would never had a chance of building anything remotely as effective to successfully spy on their dissidents. It's the outsourcing of totalitarianism.

It's a chance for the tech type to act as mercenary and just as immoral.

What a weirdly phrased sentiment. As written it seems to imply that it's OK to spy on dissidents if you are technically competent enough?

In any case, I don't think any government that wants to be totalitarian will be stopped by technical limitations.

I think that's an uncharitable interpretation. I understood it as something like:

"Before Pegasus there were lots of regimes which would have liked to spy on their populace, but were prevented from doing so by their technical incompetence. It's fortunate that totalitarians are often not sophisticated enough to spy effectively, but that is mitigated by the availability of tools like this."

It means that previously complicated ways of high tech surveillance become ubiquitous as they are accessible for moderate price to any entity. A proliferation issue. More of bad thing is worse than less of a bad thing.

But I seriously feel as you almost insist in uncharitable reading of my post.

I did not mean to and perhaps not being a native English speaker affected how I interpreted it. Sorry if I offended you here.

I do still think that entities (especially nation-states) which want to surveil dissidents will not be overly hindered by their technical expertise or lack thereof. If anything, I expect that the presence of high-profile politicians on the list will finally spur some serious research into defensive measures. Proliferation of offense begets proliferation of defense in a mouse-and-cat game after all.

Unlike oldschool surveillance methods these provide a high degree of automation. This allows for qualitatively different surveillance state than was possible with a bunch of Stasi guys in trenchcoats. It also isn't held back by borders or jurisdictions.

It's not much of cat and mouse game either: neither Apple or Google appear to be able countering the threat but worse it's not them who are the targets. It's the individuals/dissidents who are (short of ceasing electronic communication) utterly helpless here.

Did anyone else find the writing style confusing, in that it wasn't clear if the listed people had installed Pegasus to use it on others, rather than finding it installed on their cell phones to spy on them? Finally in the last part of the article, one can infer the obvious (and expected) assumption. For example Macron has secure phones for official secure conversations, but his personal iPhone has been hacked, and Pegasus has been installed, to spy on him. (Not for him.)

Would be great to have this HaveIBeenPwed type service for this list. I've heard this list of numbers is floating around somewhere... does anyone have a source?

I have heard you can find magnet links around for it. Not sure where specifically. Perhaps popular torrent sites?

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