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24 Jan 2019

Giovanna Salazar & Alexis Faber, Global Voices (Netherlands)

Mexican govt. accused of digital surveillance of journalists, activists & human rights defenders

"Under Peña Nieto, Mexican journalists endured threats, killings - and digital surveillance, say researchers", 17 January 2019

... Just one day after Valdez's death, two of his colleagues received mobile phone messages infected with the surveillance software Pegasus... Javier Valdez was a dedicated journalist who, among other things, covered stories about corruption, impunity and organized crime for the independent media outlet Ríodoce... According to a research report... Combined with other cases...a total of 28 cases of attempted infection with Pegasus, against various journalists, activists, and human rights defenders in the country... One of the most noteworthy conclusions of the report was that there seemed to be a common attacker in all cases, given the methods of infection and the use of the same infrastructure. Moreover, it was noted that the software was used in situations affecting Peña Nieto's outgoing administration. Pegasus is a sophisticated tool sold exclusively to government agencies... The technology was acquired by the Mexican government in 2014 and 2015 for the alleged purpose of fighting organized crime. The Mexican government has a terrible record when it comes to human rights and the circumstances facing journalism in the country are especially grave. [Refers to NSO Group.]