Big Brother or the Pegasus Spy

  • When the Supreme Court authorizes the surveillance measures requested by the CNI, it does not go into details, for example, of the system or “software” that will be used to access the telephone devices

If, according to legend, Apple was born in the garage of the house of the parents of Steve Jobs in Los Altos (California), the spy system or spyware Pegasus and the NSO (Niv, Shalev, Omri) company that created it originated in the covered chicken coop of a “kibbutz” or (collective farm) in Israel that its three partners rented in 2010. The group of companies – Q Cyber ​​​​Technologies in Israel, OSY Technologies in Luxembourg and Westbridge in the United States – which today are worth around 1 billion dollars (€926.7 million). And it’s a leader in a $12 billion global industry – spyware.€11.1 billion). An industry that has no regulations.

NSO’s spy technology makes it possible to extract the content of the phone, to know its texts and photographs or to activate its camera and microphone to ensure real-time monitoring, for example, access to confidential meetings. .

The perfection of the system facilitates, from 2019, the soft introduction of “software” into “smartphones” with a missed call to whatsapp, also allowing this call to be suppressed, preventing the owner from knowing what is going on. Another way: send a message to a user with a notification. According to this new version, the user has nothing to do. All it takes is having an insecure app or operating system installed on the device. it’s called an attack zero click.

For authoritarian regimes

The system Pegasus it is useful, in theory, for the police pursuing criminals or for authoritarian governments wanting to imprison or eliminate dissidents. According to its owners, its customers are from 45 countries. And, beware, these are government agencies and intelligence services. Approval of the sale, they say, must be authorized by the Israeli government. The Secret Service is supposed to Mossadparticipated in this authorization.

According to the research group of the University of Toronto (Canada) Citizen Lab (Citizen Laboratory), which investigates the use of high technology in human rights abuses, the Pegasus system was used by the Spanish government to spy on the phones of 63 Catalan independence leaders and activists, including the ” presidents”. Arthur More, Charles Puigdemont, Quim Torra Yes Father Aragones.

A former NSO employee confirmed to American magazine “The New Yorker” that the company was selling its system in Spain, although the Ministries of Interior and Defense They denied having the device.

legal regulation

Citizen Lab Yes Amnesty International denounced that the Pegasus is being used to persecute dissident politicians and activists in authoritarian regimes. One of the notorious cases was the control of the phones of the collaborators of the Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggicritic of the Saudi regime, assassinated in Istanbul, Turkey, in October 2018.

By definition, the use of the Pegasus to control pro-independence activists and leaders in Catalonia without judicial authorization It is an attack on the fundamental right to the confidentiality of communications. It is unconstitutional.

In addition, there is the circumstance that the so-called traditional wiretapping with judicial authorization took place in Catalonia, at least from February 2017. The head of the Barcelona Instruction Court number 13, Juan Antonio Ramirez Sunyeradmitted a complaint against the judge and former ERC senator Santi Vidal. The far-right Vox party had also denounced him and the then state attorney general, Joseph Manuel Maza open procedure. Ramírez Sunyer then authorized for months the telephone tapping of various pro-independence leaders, as was the case with jordi sanchez. The material was contributed to the 2019 “Trials” trial in the Supreme Court.

But no discovery of the alleged use of the Pegasus has been incorporated into any diligence.

The limbo of the CNI

The eyes then rest on National Intelligence Center (CNI), a service that could not detect the more than 2,000 ballot boxes transferred to Catalonia to guarantee the holding of the referendum of October 1, 2017.

The organic law of the Judiciary establishes that, every five years, the president of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) proposes to the magistrates of the (second) penal chamber or the contentious-administrative (third) chamber to hear the authorization of the CNI activities which affect fundamental rights: entry into the home and secrecy of communications.

According to NSO, the Pegasus is only sold to governments and intelligence services.

And the CNI spies. But, formally, you must ask the authorization of a judge of the Supreme Court. In the years of the “trial”, the person responsible for receiving the request, studying it and authorizing it was the magistrate of the administrative litigation chamber, the third chamber, paul luke (He had been since his first appointment in 2009); as a substitute in the event of a vacancy has been Julien Sanchez Melgar, magistrate of the second chamber. In December 2017, following his appointment as State Attorney General, Sánchez Melgar was replaced by Andres Martinez Arrieta. In 2019, Lucas and Martínez Arrieta were renewed in this role for another five years.

tricky question

The CNI must present strong arguments for the Supreme Court judge to approve its demands. And he must, in theory, respect the principle of proportionality.

The matter is delicate. Because while he was in the ordinary court, the the floorin the treatment of the CNI before the Supreme Court judge no.

The case therefore remains between the CNI and the judge who authorized the diligence. The party concerned does not know either. And you will never know. Because it’s secret.

the constitutional Court (TC) established that judges cannot authorize telephone tapping, for example, in indeterminate proceedings, as it is a means of avoiding the presence of the public prosecutor. That is to say. Some form of control is needed.

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Specifically, the fact that the person concerned does not know that he is being spied on does not entail any recourse to the TC. And, of course, there would be many possibilities that either before the TC or before the European court of human rights (ECHR) of Strasbourg, declared that the appeals had been successful for violation of the Constitution.

The truth is that, according to the investigations of EL PERIÓDICO, when the magistrate of the Supreme Court authorizes the measures requested by the CNI, he does not go into the details, for example, of the system or the “software” that is going to be used to access telephone or other devices.

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