Press release: the EU takes the first step to protect itself from Israeli spyware

The PEGA Committee of Inquiry into the use of spyware published its final recommendations on May 22, 2023. This committee of the European Parliament was tasked with investigating the violations committed by spyware within the European Union.

In the aftermath of the Pegasus scandal, the ECCP has advocated to the PEGA Committee on the three following points:

  • That spyware technology is dangerous and that the commercial exchange of vulnerabilities gives unstoppable power in the hands of any who buys the technology. Even law enforcement agencies can use spyware without accountability and exceed limitations set by court orders on surveillance without leaving a trace.
  • That all of the spyware companies which currently operate in the EU are Israeli companies, two of which have moved their headquarters to the EU to benefit from the lack of regulation. The Israeli spyware sector has been cultivated by the Israeli government by granting permission to these companies, set up and staffed by former Israeli intelligence officers, to sell spyware either in order to garner diplomatic favor for the Israeli government or in order to profit by selling dangerous spyware to the highest bidder.
  • That Israeli spyware companies sell a product which was tested on Palestinians in the course of the Israeli occupation, apartheid policies and the oppression of civil society organizations. False accusations of terrorism were justified by “evidence” collected by spyware among other means, which turned out to be falsified.

The ECCP would like to applaud the PEGA Committee for including all of these three points in their final recommendations.

Pay attention to points 425-431 especially.

Israeli oppression and espionage hurt not just Palestinians, but is bought by authoritarian regimes, corrupt politicians and even wealthy businesspeople and used against European citizens. The PEGA committee acknowledges that this path from oppressing Palestinians to oppressing Europeans exists, and has spoken in a loud and clear voice against the proliferation of these violations.

Meanwhile, the Directorate of Trade of the European Union is planning on publishing new regulations on the export of spyware (which it calls “dual-use cyber surveillance items”). It accepts comments by the public (either in Europe or beyond) until June 9th.

Please take a moment to tell the Directorate of Trade if you believe that spyware should not be exported for profit to the rest of the world, and that Israeli spyware companies should not be allowed to use the EU as a springboard for selling their technology: