The German government has reportedly acknowledged the purchase of Pegasus spyware, despite the fact that some of the product’s features violate the country’s privacy laws. However, sources say that the version of the software purchased by the Bundestag has some features disabled in order to make its use legal in the country.
Recall that the Israeli NSO Group is the developer of Pegasus. The company buys so-called zero-day vulnerabilities from hackers, and its software is reportedly capable of injecting exploits into the system that require no user intervention to install.
The German Federal Criminal Police Office acknowledged the acquisition of Pegasus this Tuesday, despite the fact that the purchase of the product by the German authorities took place back in 2019. According to Die Zeit, the software was acquired in the strictest secrecy. To prevent abuse, certain product functions have been blocked. It is reported that negotiations on the purchase of Pegasus have been going on since 2017. The German police took the product into service only in 2020, and this year they used it in separate operations related to terrorism and organized crime.
The German government has so far declined to comment publicly. One of the lawmakers, who raised the Pegasus security issue yesterday for privacy, received an official response saying that national security prevails over public interest in certain issues.