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Revelations surrounding the Pegasus surveillance software have shown that a number of countries were using the software to monitor the smartphones of select journalists, human rights activists, politicians, and even members of the royal family in Saudi Arabia. WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart claims that this as a problem that affects us all. Do you agree with him or do you still think that your privacy is not jeopardized by this incident?
The Pegasus surveillance software has been used by several countries to transform smartphones into a kind of spying device. Once a smartphone has been compromised with Pegasus, developer NSO Group will gain access to the camera, the exact location courtesy of GPS, and is even able to obtain a live feed of the microphone. This is possible on both Android and iOS devices.
Used primarily to monitor journalists, human rights activists and politicians, Pegasus has given an impression that all of these are just state-level security issues in an interview with the Guardian, although WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart thinks otherwise.
"This affects us all"
Cathcart pointed to the latest revelations surrounding Pegasus as a wake-up call. Thus, "mobile phones [...] are either safe for everyone or [...] not safe for everyone." What is interesting here is the fact that WhatsApp had already accused NSO (the company behind Pegasus) of spying on government officials way back in 2019. The latest revelations were not revealed until July this year.
While NSO Group has since taken legal action to defend itself against these allegations, I would like to start a poll on the topic. This is because the chief of the hugely popular instant messenger is in some way warning against being lulled into a false sense of security, thinking that Pegasus only affected the likes of journalists and politicians and will never end up spying on ordinary folks like you and I.
In this regard, Cathcart expressed that if such a privacy intrusion "affects journalists around the world, if this affects human rights defenders around the world, then it affects all of us."
Poll: Does this really affect us all?
How do you feel about the matter? Do you think it is in some way "normal" or even necessary for states to use Trojan programs to spy on each other or on specific individuals? After all, revelation surrounding Pegasus could simply be seen as a new tool that conveniently replaces the "bugging" and monitoring of people via a smartphone as opposed to traditional spycraft.
Or do you agree with Cathcart's interpretation of the incidents as a wake-up call for the world? Are the revelations surrounding Pegasus a sign that something needs to change fundamentally in terms of security on our smartphones? Do vote in the poll below as we are interested to pick your brains:
Of course, the comments section is now open for lively discussions concerning this topic. Are you interested in the topic surrounding Pegasus or is it just another data privacy scandal? What do you think about the fact that the chief of WhatsApp sees it as a wake-up call? Let's discuss!