President López Obrador said on Tuesday that alleged government-ordered spying several years ago that may have targeted him and his close allies was “shameful” and added that his government did not spy on anyone.
British newspaper The Guardian reported on Monday that at least 50 people close to López Obrador, among many others, were potentially targeted by the previous administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto after it purchased Pegasus spying software from Israel-based NSO Group.
Pegasus was exclusively sold to government clients around the world by the Israeli company, and it is also believed to have been used to target journalists and human rights activists.
López Obrador has long railed against his predecessor’s record, saying it was rife with corruption and abuses. He said on Tuesday that if the Pegasus contract was still active it must be canceled.
Mexico‘s Ministry of Defence and Attorney General’s Office were clients of NSO Group.
The Guardian report was based on what the newspaper and other media outlets have said was a leak of some 50,000 phone numbers that were selected for possible surveillance by NSO Group’s government clients.
The list, first accessed by the French nonprofit journalist outlet Forbidden Stories and advocacy group Amnesty International, was shared with The Guardian and more than a dozen other news outlets.
Reuters has not been able to independently confirm the existence of the data leak or whether the contract was still active.