Spain denies illegal spying on Catalan independence leaders

MADRID (REUTERS) – Spain’s authorities on Tuesday (April 19) denied illegally spying on Catalan independence leaders however was mum on whether or not it had undertaken any court-approved digital surveillance after a rights group discovered that dozens of separatists’ telephones had been focused.

On Monday, Canada’s Citizen Lab group stated that within the wake of a failed independence bid in 2017, greater than 60 individuals linked to the Catalan separatist motion, together with present and former regional leaders, had been targets of “Pegasus” adware made by Israel’s NSO Group.

“The government has nothing to hide,” spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez stated after a weekly cupboard assembly on Tuesday, including that the Madrid authorities would cooperate totally with any investigation into the allegations.

“Spain is a democratic state with full rule of law and any curtailing of fundamental rights requires an injunction or a court order,” Rodriguez informed reporters.

Citizen Lab stated it couldn’t straight attribute the spying operations however that circumstantial proof pointed to Spanish authorities.

Asked if Spain had ever engaged in legally-sanctioned digital surveillance of Catalan leaders or if Madrid had entry to Pegasus, which can be utilized to remotely break into iPhones, Rodriguez declined to reply straight.

“There are subjects that, because they involve national security, are protected by law, and classified, secret matters that I cannot tell you about,” she stated.

Citizen Lab is named one of many main analysis teams on mercenary adware throughout the cybersecurity trade.

It additionally revealed this week that it had warned British officers that digital units related to authorities networks, together with within the prime minister’s workplace and international ministry, seemed to be focused with Pegasus.

The group started its Spanish inquiry in 2020 after researchers working with Facebook’s on the spot message service WhatsApp warned a number of Catalan lawmakers, together with former parliamentary speaker Roger Torrent, that their telephones had been hacked.

At that point, a Barcelona courtroom opened an investigation after Torrent and one other member of parliament filed a lawsuit in opposition to the Spanish authorities.

El Pais newspaper reported on Tuesday that the investigation had been stalled for over a 12 months because the courtroom was awaiting a response from the Israeli authorities.

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