This is too good, I had just finished yesterday’s article and the Guardian gives me ‘Spyware can make your phone your enemy. Journalism is your defence’, in this that I have some troubles accepting that journalism is my defence, they are al about circulation and satisfying their shareholders and stakeholders (optionally advertisers too). But the article came at the right moment, even as this is about Pegasus and the NSO group. Whenever I look back at the title ‘Pegasus’ I think back to Pegasus mail and windows 3.1. It is a reflex, but a nice one. So, the article gives us “The Pegasus project poses urgent questions about the privatisation of the surveillance industry and the lack of safeguards for citizens”, which is nice, but Microsoft, Solarwinds and Cisco made a bigger mess and a much larger mess, so pointing at Pegasus at this point seems a little moot and pointless. (Microsoot’s Exchange anyone?)
Yes, there are questions and it is fair to ask them, so when we see “This surveillance has dramatic, and in some cases even life-threatening, consequences for the ordinary men and women whose numbers appear in the leakbecause of their work exposing the misdeeds of their rulers or defending the rights of their fellow citizens”, yes questions are good, but the fact that millions of records went to the open air via all kinds of methods (including advertiser Microsoft) is just a little too weird. And it is not up to me, it was The Hill who asked the people (5 days ago after the Kaseya hack gone public, the larger question that actually matters ‘Kaseya hack proves we need better cyber metrics’ and they are right, when we see “Once “infected”, your phone becomes your worst enemy. From within your pocket, it instantly betrays your secrets and delivers your private conversations, your personal photos, nearly everything about you” we read this and shrug, but at this point how did a third party operator (NSO group) get the data and the knowhow to make an app that allows for this? Larger question should be handed to both Google and Apple. The fact that the phones are mostly void of protection comes from these two makers. This is a setting of facilitation and a lack of cyber security. The NSO group decided to set a limited commercial application (more likely to facilitate towards the proud girls and boys of Mossad) and they took it one step further to offer it to other governments as well, is that wrong?
So when we see “All of these individuals were selected for possible surveillance by states using the same spyware tool, Pegasus, sold by the NSO Group. Our mission at Forbidden Stories is to pursue – collaboratively – the work of threatened, jailed or assassinated journalists”, if that were true, we would see a lot more articles regarding the 120 Journalists jailed in Turkey, not to mention the 60 journalists that were assassinated (read: targeted killing exercise) there as well. The papers are all about a journalist no one cares about (Jamal Khashoggi) but the other journalists do not really make the front page giving pause and skepticism to “the work of threatened, jailed or assassinated journalists”, my personal view is that the advertisers and stake holders don’t really care about those lives. Then I have issues with “This investigation began with an enormous leak of documents that Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International had access to”, was it really a leak, or did one government take view away from them (by Amnesty International) and handed it towards the NSO group? A list of 50,000 numbers is nothing to sneer at, as such, I doubt it was a leak, it was a tactical move to push the limelight away from them and push it somewhere else. As we consider Kaseya, Solarwinds, Microsoft and Cisco, the weak minded democratic intelligence players from the Unified Spies of America come to mind, but I admit that I have no evidence, it is pure speculation.
And then we see the larger danger “But the scale of this scandal could only be uncovered by journalists around the world working together. By sharing access to this data with the other media organisations in the Forbidden Stories consortium, we were able to develop additional sources, collect hundreds of documents and put together the harrowing evidence of a surveillance apparatus that has been wielded ferociously against swaths of civil society”, who did they share access to? Who reports to another faction that is not journalism or is purely greed driven? In this, the article (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2021/jul/19/spyware-can-make-your-phone-your-enemy-journalism-is-your-defence) gives us one other gem, it is “not to mention more than 180 journalists from nearly two dozen countries”, as such we see 0.36% of the data is about journalists, so if I was to look at a slice and dice dashboard, how will these 50,000 people distribute? So when we see “If one reporter is threatened or killed, another can take over and ensure that the story is not silenced”, yes, how did that end up for those journo’s in Turkey? What about outliers in data like Dutch journalist Peter R. De Vries? He is not getting the limelight that much in the last three days, you all moved on? You pushed the limelight towards Jamal Khashoggi for well over a year, who achieved less than 0.01% compared to Peter R. De Vries. I reckon that this article, although extremely nice is there to cater to a specific need, a need that the article does not mention (and I can only speculate), but when we see all this holier than though mentions and we see an inaction on Turkey’s actions, as well as a lack of news regarding Peter R. De Vries, I wonder what this article was about, it wasn’t really about the NSO group and Pegasus, they are mentioned 4 and 7 times, the article was to push people towards thinking it is about one thing and it becomes about the 0.36% of journalists in a list of 50,000, all whilst the number is mentioned once in the article without a breakdown. Someone else is calling, when you answer, just make sure the local number is not 666.