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FBI, other agencies tapped to help probe

Prosecutor outlines approach for spyware investigation

The federal Attorney General (PGR) will seek assistance from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and other agencies in its probe of spyware installed on the phones of lawyers, journalists and anti-corruption activists.

The head of the PGR’s Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression (Feadle) said a technical support team will be appointed as part of the investigation.

Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo said help is being sought from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association, or GSMA, a trade body that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, the FBI and the Canadian government.

Feadle will also request assistance from the School of Engineering, Electrical Mechanics at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) and the Federal Telecommunications Commission (Cofetel).

Sánchez said all federal and state security agencies that might have had access to wiretapping hardware and software have been ordered to produce all information related to the purchase of the equipment, called Pegasus, or other similar tools.

The PGR will also question the firms that have sold equipment that enables wiretapping “for the purpose of knowing which state governments have received this kind of equipment” and if it could have got into private hands.

Mobile carriers will be asked to provide the call records of the phones infected by the Pegasus spyware.

Individuals who have filed formal complaints before the PGR in relation to the spyware attack will be asked to submit their mobile devices for analysis.

The New York Times reported last week that advanced spyware purchased by Mexico to fight crime has been used against critics of the government and their families.

The software infiltrates smartphones and can monitor calls and access texts, email and contacts and use the device’s microphone and camera for surveillance.

The Mexican government has bought close to US $80 million worth of spyware created by the NSO Group, an Israeli cyberarms manufacturer.

The Pegasus spyware is sold exclusively to governments with an agreement that it is to be used only to fight terrorists or drug cartels and criminal groups.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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