Spyware against Catalan politicians

Human rights organization demands international investigation (Press Release)

According to research by the daily newspapers The Guardian and El Pais, controversial spyware of the Israeli provider NSO Group has been found on the mobile phones of two Catalan politicians. The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) criticized the use of the software against Ernest Maragall, Roger Torrent, and other politically active people in Catalonia. "Unjust regimes all over the world are known to have been using spyware from the NSO Group to monitor and suppress critical media workers or members of the opposition," stated Ulrich Delius, the STP's Director, in Göttingen on Wednesday. "The fact that a democratic country like Spain is now also using such methods to spy on unwelcome political activists is extremely worrying. The incident has to be investigated!"

Further, Delius, added that an investigation could, of course, not be carried out by the Spanish government itself – so the EU Commission should intervene and ensure that the accusations are investigated by a neutral party. In-depth surveillance measures like this should be strictly limited to the fight against terrorism. "If spying on opposition members or critical voices from the fields of journalism or human rights advocacy becomes common practice in liberal democracies, we are on a dangerous path," Delius criticized. "Those who want to protect democracy and the rule of law cannot simply react to critical opinions with repression."

The IT security company NSO Group has been under criticism because of its spyware for quite a while. The company emphasizes that its software should only be used to combat terrorism – but it has repeatedly sold its services to the most repressive regimes in the world, thus helping them to suppress their civil societies.