In a statement Felix Bolanos, the government minister for the Spanish presidency said, the country’s authorities have detected “Pegasus” spyware in the mobile phones of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Defence Minister Margarita Robles.
In a news conference Bolanos said, Sanchez’s phone was infected in May 2021 and since then at least one data leak has occurred. He did not shed light on who had been spying on the premier.
“The interventions were illicit and external. External means carried out by non-official bodies and without state authorisation,” he said while adding the infections had been reported to the justice ministry; the High Court would be in charge of the case.
The announcement followed intense pressure on the leftist coalition government to explain itself after Canada’s digital rights group Citizen Lab said more than 60 people linked to the Catalan separatist movement had been targets of “Pegasus” spyware made by Israel’s NSO Group.
After the allegations of spying on members of the Catalan separatist movement, the minority government’s key ally in parliament, Catalonia’s leftist pro-independence party ERC, said it would not support the government until Madrid takes measures to restore confidence.
In a statement Pere Aragones, the separatist Catalan regional president, said “When the mass surveillance is against the Catalan independence movement, we only hear silence and excuses. Today everything is done in a hurry. But the double standard here is clear. It seems that against the independence movement anything is accepted.”
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