Wow, just started following the European Parliament's hearing with (yes, what else should one do when sitting at home with Covid?). MEPs are doing some seriously grilling, MEP Sandor Ronai demands NSO guy to "stop the storytelling" and finally provide real answers.

person lists current compliance (aka ) scoring for countries MEPs asked for:

- Belgium 80 (out of 100)
- Spain 70
- Hungary 65
- Poland 64
- Saudi Arabia 30

Apparently countries below 20 can't acquire .

Interesting Q from MEP Beata Kampa: Does NSO have information about how many crimes have been prevented or how many lives saved thanks to (aka the purposes NSO claims the software is built for)?

dude first admits that they do not have any data;

but then claims without any evidence that it must be "thousands of lives saved" and -- hold it -- even brings up paedophiles, because of course he does.

NSO dude keeps on claiming how they take and international law seriously but refuses to say anything meaningful about the publicly known cases of abuse in , , , etc.

Hahaha, : "we are first and foremost a research and development company" LMAO

says total number of targets is about 13,000 per year, used by 60 customers. That makes ~217 targets per customer.

Independent research said the number of targets was over 50,000.

MEP Körner follows his colleague Heide with good questions on numbers, refuses to respond to most of them.

Except: More than 5 EU member states are NSO customer.

Excellent question by @HNeumannMEP: What kind of regulation would be needed for companies like ?

NSO answer: "We would need something like weapons controls."

So the company agrees they are selling weapons??

And now Polish MEP Sikorski on fire:

"I am contacting you as a victim, how can I now that I have been targeted by ?"

"Are you proud of targeting the Polish opposition?"

Other good Qs from MEP @salima_yenbou: What is definition of terrorism?

A: "a clear threat of violence against an institution" -- this sounds veeery broad to me and could easily include protesters in oppressive regimes.

The only positive aspect in 's responses I could find so far: they made explicit reference to @FbdnStories and @AmnestyTech reporting.

To conclude, Rapporteur Sophie In 't Veld asks is was willing to work with Amnesty Tech and the EP to "go through every single case of abusive use of ".

Answer: Kind of yes, but we won't be able to do much probably b/c we'd need customer permission.

So I guess that's a no.

@ilumium Beata Kempa is from PiS, Polish ruling right-wing party. PiS government bought Pegasus and notoriously used it against opposition figures.

Kempa was sending him a soft ball question.

@rysiek Yes, I know (and dislike) Kempa's political affiliation but still thought it was an interesting question. :)

@rysiek Ah no worries, I find it often difficult myself to decide how to handle contributions from extreme political parties.

@ilumium "we really don't want to be seen saying no, but we can't and won't say yes"

@aab Of course it is. I guess it's two interns sitting together reading Wikipedia articles. 🤷

Politics, human rights 


"Saudi Arabia 30"
"countries below 20 can't acquire #Pegasus"

...this would be the same Saudi Arabia that has the death penalty for being LGBT, heavily suppresses women etc.

They consider its human rights record good enough? 😱

@ilumium for those who want to follow.

Very interesting, thanks!

TLDR: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

- we are not responsible for how our tools are used
- we won't disclose our $customers$
- that's more important than your privacy
- if you only target "terrorism" then you can give us the list of users and targets

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