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Pegasus Project: Princess Latifa and Princess Haya listed as potential targets by clients of spyware company NSO Group

New evidence uncovered by the Pegasus Project has revealed that the phone numbers of Emirati princesses Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum and Haya bint Hussein were listed as potential targets by clients of spyware company NSO Group in the 50,000 numbers leaked in the Pegasus Project investigation. Director of Amnesty Tech, Rasha Abdul Rahim, said:

“These shocking revelations appear to implicate NSO Group in the catalogue of human rights violations inflicted on Princess Latifa and Princess Haya.  

This proves once again that Pegasus is the spyware of choice for human rights abusers
Rasha Abdul Rahim, Director of Amnesty Tech

“NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware potentially helped to strip Princess Latifa of her freedom – it may have given her captors the tools they needed to hack her phone and track her down. It may also have been used to target Princess Haya and many of her associates, after she spoke out in support of Princess Latifa. 

“This proves once again that Pegasus is the spyware of choice for human rights abusers. 

“The damning revelations of the Pegasus Project underscore the urgent need for strong regulation to rein in an unchecked surveillance industry.

"States must implement a global moratorium on the export, sale, transfer and use of spyware equipment until a robust human rights-compliant regulatory framework is in place.  

“NSO Group must immediately stop selling its equipment to countries with a track record of putting human right defenders and journalists under unlawful surveillance.   

“The Israeli government should also not authorise licenses for the export of NSO Group’s cybersurveillance technology if there is a substantial risk it could be used for human rights violations.” 

 

Background 

NSO Group’s spyware has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale, according to a major investigation into the leak of 50,000 phone numbers of potential surveillance targets. These include heads of state, activists and journalists, including Jamal Khashoggi’s family.  

The Pegasus Project is a ground-breaking collaboration by more than 80 journalists from 17 media organizations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media non-profit, with the technical support of Amnesty International, who conducted cutting- edge forensic tests on mobile phones to identify traces of the spyware.   

The investigation today revealed that Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum and her closest friends, as well as Princess Haya bint Hussein and her associates, were selected as people of interest by clients of NSO Group.   

Amnesty International was unable to conduct forensic analysis on their phones to confirm whether they were targeted or if spyware was successfully installed.   

Israeli surveillance giant NSO Group has been bankrolled by major private equity firms Novalpina Capital and Francisco Partners, with numerous investors behind them. Pension firms in the UK and US also have a stake in the company.