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US requests update on probe inside Mexico’s use of espionage software

Mexico City, Mexico — The US has requested a progress update into the use of the espionage program Software Pegasus, which Mexico has been accused of using.

US Congressmen sent a letter to the Mexican ambassador, Gerónimo Gutiérrez, requesting the Mexican government verify the progress in the investigation related to the espionage program Software Pegasus, of which they have been suspected of using against defenders of rights human rights activists, journalists and anti-corruption activists.

Congressman Alan Lowenthal, along with three other US House legislators, signed the letter warning that “It is imperative that the Government of Mexico conduct a serious, transparent, complete and impartial investigation into the illegal use of the espionage program and justice to any public official or government agency involved in the matter.”

The letter is in response to a report that The New York Times published in June of last year about the use of the espionage program, developed by the Israeli firm NSO Group. Its software is apparently only sold to government bodies under explicit conditions and is to only be used against suspected terrorists and criminal organizations.

Last February, the Times, citing high-ranking officials, victims of espionage and their lawyers, said that the Mexican government “Has not managed to advance in many basic areas and the prosecutors who are handling the case have not yet questioned any of the officials responsible for operating the surveillance technology.”

In mid-2017, The New York Times reported that the Government of Mexico used an Israeli program to spy on journalists and activists. They noted that since 2011, agencies have spent $80 million USD on Pegasus software that infiltrates phones to monitor calls, text messages and email.