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6 Oct 2023

Tim Starks, The Washington Post

'Predator files' expose global spyware network, allegedly with European & Israeli government complicity

"Meet the ‘Predator Files,’ the latest investigative project looking into spyware" 6 October 2023

...The new “Predator Files” sheds light on a collection of interconnected companies the project has dubbed the Intellexa alliance, and its associated Predator spyware...

...The investigation — which was based on hundreds of confidential documents obtained by Mediapart and Der Spiegel — turned up 25 countries that have purchased invasive, stealthy products from the alliance. Amnesty International, whose Security Lab provided technical analysis to a network of news outlets on the project, said the use of those products to undermine human rights, press freedoms and social movements demonstrates inadequate government safeguards against the technology...

...The Washington Post is a participant in the project, which was coordinated by the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) network and involves 15 media organizations. EIC is posting all the stories published as part of the investigation here...

...Among Thursday’s top revelations:

  • “European companies have been funding and selling cyber-surveillance tools to dictators for more than a decade with the passive complicity of many European governments,” according to a network summary
  • Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert worked with the company until recently.
  • The spyware was sold to Egypt and pitched to Saudi Arabia.
  • Outlets in Germany and France published stories on Predator-related activities in their countries.

“Among the 25 countries that the EIC consortium of media outlets found Intellexa alliance products have been sold to are Switzerland, Austria and Germany,” Amnesty International said. Other clients include Oman, Qatar, Congo, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Pakistan, Jordan and Vietnam...

...Amnesty International said it reached out to the entities involved and got no response, but the EIC network heard from the main shareholders and former Nexa group executives...