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WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart demands moratorium on spyware industry in wake of Pegasus scandal

The WhatsApp head also reacted to statements from the NSO Group and disclosed new information about the 2019 Pegasus attack.  WhatsApp’s chief executive officer Will Cathcart urged governments to step in and impose a complete moratorium on the spyware industry in an interview with The Guardian. He was speaking to the newspaper to disclose new details about the 2019 Pegasus attack on 1,400 WhatsApp users in the aftermath of the Pegasus Project's revelations.  “NSO Group claims that a large number of governments are buying their software, that means those governments, even if their use of it is more controlled, those governments are funding this. Should they stop? Should there be a discussion about which governments were paying for this software?” Cathcart was quoted as saying to the newspaper.  The Pegasus Project, a consortium of 17 news organisations led by Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International, accessed a list of around 50,000 phone numbers that were potential targets by government clients of the Israeli company NSO Group. Pegasus is military-grade spyware sold only to vetted governments for use against criminals and terrorists. However, the consortium discovered that heads of state, government ministers, diplomats, activists, journalists, and lawyers were included in the list. Why it matters? This is not the first time that the NSO Group has been accused of violating the privacy of people using its spyware. In 2019, the Financial Times reported that WhatsApp calls were used to inject Pegasus into phones surreptitiously. Cathcart, in his interview, went on to draw…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

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