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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Monday, July 24, 2017

Pegasus Spyware Use in Mexico : UN Human Rights Experts Demand Independent Investigation

Posted by Yaqui for Borderland Beat from NYTimes

Mexican Citizens Protesting Spyware Surveillance
Follow Up to BB's  NYT Post June 21, 2017
Extra Material from UN Press Release

By: Elisabeth Malkin July19, 2017

United Nations human rights experts called on Mexico's government on Wednesday to establish an independent investigation into smartphone surveillance of human rights lawyers, journalists and social activists.

The hacking effort, using advanced spyware whose sale is restricted to governments, has generated a furor in Mexico. The attorney general’s office, one of the agencies that acquired the spyware, known as  Pegasus, has opened an investigation.

But the Mexican government recently blocked a proposal for the country’s new anticorruption board to investigate the hacking — an inquiry that would have been more transparent than an ordinary criminal investigation.

By limiting the case to the attorney general’s office, the Mexican government is investigating itself with no outside oversight, the four United Nations experts said in a statement from Geneva.

“We are concerned about the alleged implication in the purchase and use of Pegasus by the same authorities that are now in charge of conducting the investigations,” the statement said. “In that sense, we call on the government to take all the necessary steps to ensure the impartiality of the investigating organ.”

The envoys — Michel Forst, David Kaye, Joseph A. Cannataci and Houria Es-Slami — are involved in issues that include the freedom of expression, privacy rights, involuntary disappearances and other human rights abuses.

Mobile Unit with Spyware Installed
There was no immediate response from the Mexican government to the statement but the special prosecutor for crimes against freedom of expression, Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo, said last month that the Mexican authorities would seek technical help from outside agencies, including the F.B.I.

An investigation by The New York Times and forensic cyberanalysts first reported the details of the hacking effort last month describing how Pegasus turned up on the cellphones of journalists and activists in 2015 and 2016.

Ricardo Sanchez Perez del Pozo
Pegasus sends text messages to targets, encouraging them to click on a link. Once the link is opened, the telephone becomes a surveillance device.

After the Times report was published, five outside experts appointed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate the disappearance of 43 college students in the city of Iguala in 2014 found that they had received similar messages in March 2016.

Mexico City Protests After the Disappeared "Iguala 43"
The five investigators — human rights experts from Colombia, Chile, Spain and Guatemala — were granted diplomatic immunity.

The hacking efforts, confirmed by Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and the Mexican digital rights group R3D, also extended to Mexican opposition politicians and health activists who had been pushing to raise taxes on soft drinks.

The hacking allegations “are highly concerning and are evidence of the hostile and threatening environment that human rights defenders, social activists and journalists face in Mexico today,” the United Nations experts said.

In Memorium: The 43 Missing Students Teachers of Iguala
It is Now Thought that the Investigators Were also Victims of the Pegasus Spyware             
NSO, the Israeli company that makes Pegasus, says that it sells the spyware to governments on the condition that it be used only against terrorists and criminals.

The Mexican government has denied that it used the software to spy on activists and journalists and argued that there was no proof against it because the spyware does not leave behind the hacker’s digital fingerprints.

Mexico’s opposition National Action Party and the Inter-American Commission have called for an outside investigation into the espionage. The United Nations envoys said the hacking targets should be allowed to participate.


A group of United Nations experts today called on the Government of Mexico to carry out a transparent, independent and impartial investigation into allegations of monitoring and illegal surveillance against human rights defenders, social activists, and journalists.

The experts’ call comes a month after civil society organizations and the international media revealed allegations that the Mexican authorities deployed a spyware called ‘Pegasus’ to hack and monitor the mobile phones of people involved in the investigation and denunciation of cases of corruption and serious violations of human rights during 2015 and 2016.

Protesters Fill the Zocolo in Mexico City
“The allegations of surveillance, which represent a serious violation of the rights to privacy, freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of association, are highly concerning and are evidence of the hostile and threatening environment that human rights defenders, social activists and journalists face in Mexico today,” the experts said.

The surveillance has reportedly targeted human rights defenders from the NGO Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez (Centro Prodh), as well as members of other civil society organizations such as Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad and Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad.

Symbolic Protestor  of the " Iguala 43" 

The Executive Secretary and some members of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, appointed to take part in the investigation into the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, are also said to have been affected.

Among the journalists who claim to have been monitored are Carmen Aristegui and Carlos Loret de Mola. In addition, evidence suggests that a child of one of the affected journalists was also monitored, as were certain members of political opposition parties.

A Protest After the Initial Revelation of the Spyware Used Against Journalists and Activists
“Given the seriousness of the allegations, the government must ensure the conditions necessary for the investigation to be carried out with independence and transparency,” said UN experts.

“We are concerned about the alleged implication in the purchase and use of Pegasus of the same authorities that are now in charge of conducting the investigations”, they noted. “In that sense, we call on the Government to take all the necessary steps to ensure the impartiality of the investigating organ”.   

The experts also called on the Government to ensure that victims are allowed to participate in the investigation and that the general public is informed in a timely manner of the results.

“We urge the Government to commit to cease the surveillance immediately,” they emphasized. “Such commitment must include effective controls over the security and intelligence services in order to prevent unlawful use of the State's monitoring tools.”

For the UN experts, “the resolution of this case through an independent and credible investigation is a key step in demonstrating the will of the Government in the fight against impunity in the administration of justice in Mexico”.


  1. Going to have more fun reading bizarre and goofy comments. Good times.

    1. 8:06 starting with yours, pendejo.

  2. Of course. Keeping people ignorant and suppressed has always been a halmark of Mexico and even the U.S. I, mean isn't this the reason Edward Snowden became famous, for uncovering the spying of civilians within this country? Back to Mexico though this is just wrong. What will be accomplished by the UN interference however? Only time will tell.

    1. Everyone already knew the USA is spying on everyone. Gotta keep us safe from the Bad Hombres

    2. and Snowden is a hero!!!

    3. Hero?
      Depends on the perspective of individuals.
      Some may say an infringement of privacy?
      Others have no objection because they have nothing to hide!
      Where does a citizens rights to privacy bear legal issues? Moreover, personal information gathering used other than marketing purposes?
      Rather a profile of religious beliefs, political elements and opinions ect.
      Are we safe and secure when navigating or chatting on line? Better yet; is this site a creative tool for purposes for the illicit activities in the war against drugs? Remember names, players and places are frequently tossed from unknown readers. Information gathered to compile such intelligence.
      Nevertheless, in a world of technology anyone or anything is compromised.


    4. Edward Snowden did it for his country, he was working as an independent contractor for a US intelligence contractor,
      but PEGASUS is a private business licencing their tec ology and spyware to criminal governments and claims no responsibility when their technology is used to commit crimes of state against citizens that can not defend themselves.
      The UN intevention may convince the members that criminals need not be protected by member states, and that they need to be prosecuted and hanged and their fortunes confiscated to help pay bback their debtors and their victims.

    5. It was crooked mx politicians spying on journalists, activists who opposed them. Sure they can spy on everyday average pendejos, but why don't they do the same with org crime?

    6. They got it all mess up.

  3. -Desde Tierra Caliente-

    ¿No es lo que se dice la pregunta más importante? El PAN ha presentado la queja. No veo nada del PRD. Es necesario hacer la pregunta a los agentes de inteligencia de EUA que ahora están presentes en México si están ayudando de alguna manera con esta tecnología. El mayor problema que puede ser es la asistencia que le brindan el EUA.

    1. 12:14 POS A GÜEBOO, the US "government" supplies their mexican junta's government dignitaries and gorillas to make sure they keep the Plantation in good working order or else...
      Money is of NO concern.

  4. I doubt this will do anything, everybody knows the governor of guerrero and that split cartel from beltranes were responsible anyways

  5. Why are we acting surprised like "omg the mexican government is doing this and that" the war and genocide are more than obvious against those whose oppose or become a political or financial obstacle for the mexican government or the elite that control mexico.

    1. 1:42 because of these breaches, we are at the "OMAIGAWD" phase, extort time you may be reading of the demise of the mexican narco-politicians, some day, with God's help

  6. The government is the top cartel in Mexico.

    1. You are correct!


    2. Yes! You got that right. Not even the high class, high security Cancun hotels can protect its customers. Read some of the stories here:

      So any citizen who fuks with its corrupt government system will be neutralized. Serious journalists and "knowing" citizens know they are monitored and marked for "nuetralization" should they go too far.


    3. Colombian submarines with the best German technology, heirs of German blooked Carlos Lehder, russian investors, helped by mossad mafiosos, and chinese businessmen with ties to argentina, chile, uruguay, bolivia, peru, guatemala, el.salvador, honduras, cuba too, and the US navy, the DEA and the cia, all have their particular favorite cartel all with their own arrangements.
      As some fall, others are there always picking up for the others because the show must go on, full of masquerading and pretenses.

    4. This comment above me applause to this person salute my friend

    5. Gobierno cagado 💩 a las escondidas nos entendemos a toda madres. - Sol Prendido

  7. Demanding an unresponsive corridor is what they will get. Deniability is clearly evident! And will remain!


  8. "the Mexican government is investigating itself with no outside oversight...". Now what could possibly go WRONG here?? Hmmmm..


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