FBI considered using Pegasus spyware for US domestic surveillance

Posted:
in iOS
A new report uncovers how Israel used the NSO Group's infamous Pegasus iPhone hacking tool, and how the FBI secretly bought it.




It has previously been reported that Israeli police have used the Pegasus spyware against its own citizens, and done so without legal oversight. Now the New York Times has released the results of a year-long investigation into the company behind the Pegasus spyware, including how the US considered using it and a more advanced tool.

According to the full report, and a New York Times summary of it, the FBI secretly bought Pegasus spyware in 2019. The NSO Group also reportedly gave the agency a demonstration of Phantom, a newer tool which was able to hack American phone numbers.

The FBI and the Justice Department then spent two years discussing whether to deploy Phantom, with the FBI only deciding against it and all NSO spyware in summer 2021.

Nonetheless, the New York Times investigation says that the Pegasus equipment is still in the FBI's possession at a New Jersey facility.

In November 2021, Apple sued the NSO Group over its Pegasus spyware. In December 2021, it was reported that the Israeli-based NSO Group was considering killing Pegasus in the face of such lawsuits and also financial pressure.

The group reportedly began deliberating the move specifically after the US Commerce Department blacklisted the company. According to the New York Times, this denies the NSO Group access to US technology it uses in its operations, such as Amazon cloud servers.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,075member
    Of course the FBI did.  Any doubts about this?  Right around the time the NSA got its iOS hacking tools leaked on-line.

    Anybody still want a politically prescribed “backdoor” on your device for law enforcement now?

    They have their options still.  Its the cat and mouse game repeated over and over.
    lkruppGeorgeBMacMplsPwatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 2 of 17
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,946member
    So the FBI secretly bought an iPhone spying tool using taxpayer money in 2019. Anyone think they still DON'T use it? The FBI's charter only deals with domestic activities. The CIA deals with non-domestic and the NSA does whatever they feel like doing. Once the FBI purchased Pegasus, all the other government agencies had access to it. I'm sure there's a way to "share" this software and I have no doubt it was used many times, and probably continues to be used. 

    Let's add all the government officials who are pushing to force Apple to open up its App Store along with China forcing athletes to load the "official" Olympics app. Both of these can force backdoors into a person's iPhone. Since governments can't figure out how to spy on iPhone users any other way, they are pushing, the case of the US,  Congress and state's AGs to do the dirty work for them. Force Apple to open up the App Store for side loading and make them lose money by allowing third-party payment systems, something no other retailer allows. 

    williamlondonwatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 3 of 17
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,991member
    And the sun rises in the East every morning. Surveillance is now the lifeblood of governments so of course the FBI looked at using Pegasus. The rise of the internet has returned too much power to the individual and that’s bad for governments.
    GeorgeBMacapplguycat52watto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 4 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    rob53 said:
    So the FBI secretly bought an iPhone spying tool using taxpayer money in 2019. Anyone think they still DON'T use it? The FBI's charter only deals with domestic activities. The CIA deals with non-domestic and the NSA does whatever they feel like doing. Once the FBI purchased Pegasus, all the other government agencies had access to it. I'm sure there's a way to "share" this software and I have no doubt it was used many times, and probably continues to be used. 

    Let's add all the government officials who are pushing to force Apple to open up its App Store along with China forcing athletes to load the "official" Olympics app. Both of these can force backdoors into a person's iPhone. Since governments can't figure out how to spy on iPhone users any other way, they are pushing, the case of the US,  Congress and state's AGs to do the dirty work for them. Force Apple to open up the App Store for side loading and make them lose money by allowing third-party payment systems, something no other retailer allows. 


    Domestic terrorists now pose a greater threat to the U.S. than do foreign terrorists.
    The FBI is our primary protection from them.  I'm fine with them doing what they have to do to protect us from dangerous screwballs with an agenda.
    waveparticle
  • Reply 5 of 17
    lewklewk Posts: 17member
    rob53 said:
    So the FBI secretly bought an iPhone spying tool using taxpayer money in 2019. Anyone think they still DON'T use it? The FBI's charter only deals with domestic activities. The CIA deals with non-domestic and the NSA does whatever they feel like doing. Once the FBI purchased Pegasus, all the other government agencies had access to it. I'm sure there's a way to "share" this software and I have no doubt it was used many times, and probably continues to be used. 

    Let's add all the government officials who are pushing to force Apple to open up its App Store along with China forcing athletes to load the "official" Olympics app. Both of these can force backdoors into a person's iPhone. Since governments can't figure out how to spy on iPhone users any other way, they are pushing, the case of the US,  Congress and state's AGs to do the dirty work for them. Force Apple to open up the App Store for side loading and make them lose money by allowing third-party payment systems, something no other retailer allows. 


    Domestic terrorists now pose a greater threat to the U.S. than do foreign terrorists.
    The FBI is our primary protection from them.  I'm fine with them doing what they have to do to protect us from dangerous screwballs with an agenda.
    Domestic terrorists?  You mean like Antifa and the others who were rioting and burning down portions of our cities?  The ones destroying a lot of black and minority owned businesses?
    williamlondoncat52byronl
  • Reply 6 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    lewk said:
    rob53 said:
    So the FBI secretly bought an iPhone spying tool using taxpayer money in 2019. Anyone think they still DON'T use it? The FBI's charter only deals with domestic activities. The CIA deals with non-domestic and the NSA does whatever they feel like doing. Once the FBI purchased Pegasus, all the other government agencies had access to it. I'm sure there's a way to "share" this software and I have no doubt it was used many times, and probably continues to be used. 

    Let's add all the government officials who are pushing to force Apple to open up its App Store along with China forcing athletes to load the "official" Olympics app. Both of these can force backdoors into a person's iPhone. Since governments can't figure out how to spy on iPhone users any other way, they are pushing, the case of the US,  Congress and state's AGs to do the dirty work for them. Force Apple to open up the App Store for side loading and make them lose money by allowing third-party payment systems, something no other retailer allows. 


    Domestic terrorists now pose a greater threat to the U.S. than do foreign terrorists.
    The FBI is our primary protection from them.  I'm fine with them doing what they have to do to protect us from dangerous screwballs with an agenda.
    Domestic terrorists?  You mean like Antifa and the others who were rioting and burning down portions of our cities?  The ones destroying a lot of black and minority owned businesses?

    No, because they are not terrorists.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 7 of 17
    lewk said:
    Domestic terrorists now pose a greater threat to the U.S. than do foreign terrorists.
    The FBI is our primary protection from them.  I'm fine with them doing what they have to do to protect us from dangerous screwballs with an agenda.
    Domestic terrorists?  You mean like Antifa and the others who were rioting and burning down portions of our cities?  The ones destroying a lot of black and minority owned businesses?
    "Antifa"? Seriously? Hardly. 

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/dhs-warns-that-right-wing-extremists-could-attack-power-grid

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/25/politics/electric-grid-attractive-target-domestic-violent-extremists/index.html

    https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/cybersecurity/the-far-right-domestic-extremist-threat-to-the-power-grid/

    What does the phrase "antifa" mean?


    williamlondonGeorgeBMacMplsPStrangeDays
  • Reply 8 of 17
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,373member
    lewk said:
    rob53 said:
    So the FBI secretly bought an iPhone spying tool using taxpayer money in 2019. Anyone think they still DON'T use it? The FBI's charter only deals with domestic activities. The CIA deals with non-domestic and the NSA does whatever they feel like doing. Once the FBI purchased Pegasus, all the other government agencies had access to it. I'm sure there's a way to "share" this software and I have no doubt it was used many times, and probably continues to be used. 

    Let's add all the government officials who are pushing to force Apple to open up its App Store along with China forcing athletes to load the "official" Olympics app. Both of these can force backdoors into a person's iPhone. Since governments can't figure out how to spy on iPhone users any other way, they are pushing, the case of the US,  Congress and state's AGs to do the dirty work for them. Force Apple to open up the App Store for side loading and make them lose money by allowing third-party payment systems, something no other retailer allows. 


    Domestic terrorists now pose a greater threat to the U.S. than do foreign terrorists.
    The FBI is our primary protection from them.  I'm fine with them doing what they have to do to protect us from dangerous screwballs with an agenda.
    Domestic terrorists?  You mean like Antifa and the others who were rioting and burning down portions of our cities?  The ones destroying a lot of black and minority owned businesses?

    No, because they are not terrorists.
    It wasn’t on CNN, so you might have missed it. 
    williamlondoncat52
  • Reply 9 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    Japhey said:
    lewk said:
    rob53 said:
    So the FBI secretly bought an iPhone spying tool using taxpayer money in 2019. Anyone think they still DON'T use it? The FBI's charter only deals with domestic activities. The CIA deals with non-domestic and the NSA does whatever they feel like doing. Once the FBI purchased Pegasus, all the other government agencies had access to it. I'm sure there's a way to "share" this software and I have no doubt it was used many times, and probably continues to be used. 

    Let's add all the government officials who are pushing to force Apple to open up its App Store along with China forcing athletes to load the "official" Olympics app. Both of these can force backdoors into a person's iPhone. Since governments can't figure out how to spy on iPhone users any other way, they are pushing, the case of the US,  Congress and state's AGs to do the dirty work for them. Force Apple to open up the App Store for side loading and make them lose money by allowing third-party payment systems, something no other retailer allows. 


    Domestic terrorists now pose a greater threat to the U.S. than do foreign terrorists.
    The FBI is our primary protection from them.  I'm fine with them doing what they have to do to protect us from dangerous screwballs with an agenda.
    Domestic terrorists?  You mean like Antifa and the others who were rioting and burning down portions of our cities?  The ones destroying a lot of black and minority owned businesses?

    No, because they are not terrorists.
    It wasn’t on CNN, so you might have missed it. 

    That propaganda was all over FauxNews -- or is that too liberal for you?
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 10 of 17
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,480member
    lewk said:
    Domestic terrorists?  You mean like Antifa and the others who were rioting and burning down portions of our cities?  The ones destroying a lot of black and minority owned businesses?
    You are misinformed. Anti-fascists fight the rise of fascism, so there were no anti-fascists at the racist-injustice riots because it had nothing to do with fascism.

    I assume you’re just trolling by playing stupid, but perhaps I shouldn’t assume so much.
    MplsPGeorgeBMacwilliamlondonStrangeDays
  • Reply 11 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,065member
    lkrupp said:
    And the sun rises in the East every morning. Surveillance is now the lifeblood of governments so of course the FBI looked at using Pegasus. The rise of the internet has returned too much power to the individual and that’s bad for governments.
    You have it absolutely backwards, I’m afraid. We who are not bootlickers do not feel that individuals have “too much power”. Individuals having power is the root of liberty and happiness. Governments who usurp that power are authoritarian regimes. Sounds like China, N. Korea, and Russia are right up your alley. 
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,065member
    rob53 said:
    So the FBI secretly bought an iPhone spying tool using taxpayer money in 2019. Anyone think they still DON'T use it? The FBI's charter only deals with domestic activities. The CIA deals with non-domestic and the NSA does whatever they feel like doing. Once the FBI purchased Pegasus, all the other government agencies had access to it. I'm sure there's a way to "share" this software and I have no doubt it was used many times, and probably continues to be used. 

    Let's add all the government officials who are pushing to force Apple to open up its App Store along with China forcing athletes to load the "official" Olympics app. Both of these can force backdoors into a person's iPhone. Since governments can't figure out how to spy on iPhone users any other way, they are pushing, the case of the US,  Congress and state's AGs to do the dirty work for them. Force Apple to open up the App Store for side loading and make them lose money by allowing third-party payment systems, something no other retailer allows. 
    Domestic terrorists now pose a greater threat to the U.S. than do foreign terrorists.
    The FBI is our primary protection from them.  I'm fine with them doing what they have to do to protect us from dangerous screwballs with an agenda.
    Guess you dont remember the FBI going after MLK Jr.
    lewk said:
    rob53 said:
    So the FBI secretly bought an iPhone spying tool using taxpayer money in 2019. Anyone think they still DON'T use it? The FBI's charter only deals with domestic activities. The CIA deals with non-domestic and the NSA does whatever they feel like doing. Once the FBI purchased Pegasus, all the other government agencies had access to it. I'm sure there's a way to "share" this software and I have no doubt it was used many times, and probably continues to be used. 

    Let's add all the government officials who are pushing to force Apple to open up its App Store along with China forcing athletes to load the "official" Olympics app. Both of these can force backdoors into a person's iPhone. Since governments can't figure out how to spy on iPhone users any other way, they are pushing, the case of the US,  Congress and state's AGs to do the dirty work for them. Force Apple to open up the App Store for side loading and make them lose money by allowing third-party payment systems, something no other retailer allows. 


    Domestic terrorists now pose a greater threat to the U.S. than do foreign terrorists.
    The FBI is our primary protection from them.  I'm fine with them doing what they have to do to protect us from dangerous screwballs with an agenda.
    Domestic terrorists?  You mean like Antifa and the others who were rioting and burning down portions of our cities?  The ones destroying a lot of black and minority owned businesses?
    Incorrect. Trump’s own DOJ released the data — alt-right domestic terrorists are a real threat, while “Antifa!” is nonsense living in your mind.

    Documented fact — alt-right white nationalists started the Floyd protest property damage and shootings. Oops. The property crime in the first Minneapolis Floyd protest was an alt-right, white supremacist agitator, Umbrella Man:

    https://www.startribune.com/police-umbrella-man-was-a-white-supremacist-trying-to-incite-floyd-rioting/571932272/ 

    And the guy who started shooting the MPD precinct was an alt-right Boogaloo Boy from TX:

    https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/09/30/texas-man-24-admits-shooting-at-minneapolis-police-station-during-riot

    ...the vast majority of the protests were peaceful. When there is violence, they’re “just a few bad apples” — isn’t that what you folks say about the bad cops? If it holds water for bad cops, surely it holds water for bad protesters. 

    edited January 29 williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,065member
    Japhey said:
    lewk said:
    rob53 said:
    So the FBI secretly bought an iPhone spying tool using taxpayer money in 2019. Anyone think they still DON'T use it? The FBI's charter only deals with domestic activities. The CIA deals with non-domestic and the NSA does whatever they feel like doing. Once the FBI purchased Pegasus, all the other government agencies had access to it. I'm sure there's a way to "share" this software and I have no doubt it was used many times, and probably continues to be used. 

    Let's add all the government officials who are pushing to force Apple to open up its App Store along with China forcing athletes to load the "official" Olympics app. Both of these can force backdoors into a person's iPhone. Since governments can't figure out how to spy on iPhone users any other way, they are pushing, the case of the US,  Congress and state's AGs to do the dirty work for them. Force Apple to open up the App Store for side loading and make them lose money by allowing third-party payment systems, something no other retailer allows. 


    Domestic terrorists now pose a greater threat to the U.S. than do foreign terrorists.
    The FBI is our primary protection from them.  I'm fine with them doing what they have to do to protect us from dangerous screwballs with an agenda.
    Domestic terrorists?  You mean like Antifa and the others who were rioting and burning down portions of our cities?  The ones destroying a lot of black and minority owned businesses?

    No, because they are not terrorists.
    It wasn’t on CNN, so you might have missed it. 
    Nah sounds like you missed the memo as Faux News wouldn’t touch the topic — the alt-right are a serious, credible, documented threat per the DOJ.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/08/post-911-domestic-terror
    williamlondonGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 14 of 17
    cat52 said:
    chasm said:
    lewk said:
    Domestic terrorists?  You mean like Antifa and the others who were rioting and burning down portions of our cities?  The ones destroying a lot of black and minority owned businesses?
    You are misinformed. Anti-fascists fight the rise of fascism, so there were no anti-fascists at the racist-injustice riots because it had nothing to do with fascism.
    And we really ought to stop pretending Antifa are "fighting fascism".  For when you dress all in black and use violence to pursue your political ends, you're not fighting fascism but are actually fascist yourself.
    Incorrect. Wearing black is fine, and the 2A man-children cosplaying as freedum fighters also wear black, fatigues, etc. Fighting back against violent alt-right terrorists with violence is just self-defense. “Good guy with a gun” fighting the bad guy with a gun, remember? Using violence in self-defense against the alt-right criminals is 100% fine. 
    williamlondonGeorgeBMacmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    lkrupp said:
    And the sun rises in the East every morning. Surveillance is now the lifeblood of governments so of course the FBI looked at using Pegasus. The rise of the internet has returned too much power to the individual and that’s bad for governments.
    You have it absolutely backwards, I’m afraid. We who are not bootlickers do not feel that individuals have “too much power”. Individuals having power is the root of liberty and happiness. Governments who usurp that power are authoritarian regimes. Sounds like China, N. Korea, and Russia are right up your alley. 

    Even Libertarians (the real ones, not the anarchists) believe a prime role of government is to keep the country and its people safe -- even if the danger is coming from domestic sources.

    Today, much of the danger is being spawned by the spread of misinformation propagated by gated social media creating and feeding cultists and extremists who then hide behind the pillars of democracy while they attack and undermine that very same democracy.
    edited January 30
  • Reply 16 of 17
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    cat52 said:
    chasm said:
    lewk said:
    Domestic terrorists?  You mean like Antifa and the others who were rioting and burning down portions of our cities?  The ones destroying a lot of black and minority owned businesses?
    You are misinformed. Anti-fascists fight the rise of fascism, so there were no anti-fascists at the racist-injustice riots because it had nothing to do with fascism.

    Antifa didn't cynically take advantage of the George Floyd riots to cause mayhem, no?

    Well then you may have missed them laying siege to the Federal Courthouse in Portland for, oh, 90 straight nights during the summer of '20.  That's three months' worth of rioting & looting for those keeping score at home.


    And we really ought to stop pretending Antifa are "fighting fascism".  For when you dress all in black and use violence to pursue your political ends, you're not fighting fascism but are actually fascist yourself.

    Oh, the irony.

    Yeh, when laws are broken by a select few who are given immunity from those laws, people object in the ways available to them.   In the Floyd case, their objective is being accomplished and society is better off for it.

    You can call those rioters whatever you want.  But mostly they are just people who have had enough.


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