The Pegasus Project was a ground-breaking collaboration by more than 80 journalists from 17 media organizations in 10 countries coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based media non-profit, in partnership Amnesty International’s Security Lab. The Security Lab conducted cutting-edge forensic tests on potentially targeted mobile devices which confirmed numerous new cases of Pegasus spyware attacks.

The collaboration revealed how NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used to facilitate human rights violations around the world on a massive scale, following the revelation of 50,000 phone numbers of potential surveillance targets.

As part of the investigation, Technologists at Amnesty International’s Security Lab were able to identify traces of NSO’s “zero-click” attacks (malware infections that require no interaction with the target) through cutting edge forensic analysis, including by linking these new attacks to previously documented attacks on human rights defenders (HRDs) using NSO Group software.

In 2021, Amnesty International published a briefing with the goal of contributing to the discussion by highlighting some of the key insights from the perspective of international law, particularly international human rights law, that come out of the reporting and technical analyses.

The Pegasus Project had significant impact that continues to reverberate globally. On 11 March 2022, the European Parliament voted to create a new “committee of inquiry” to investigate abuses of Pegasus by European member states. The Pegasus Project has also resulted in numerous criminal cases being brought by those who discovered their devices had been targeted with the spyware, including in France, Mexico and India.

In November 2021, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced NSO Group was being placed on a blocklist due to its “malicious cyber activity”. A few weeks later, Apple launched a legal action against NSO Group to “curb the abuse of state-sponsored spyware”. The company praised Amnesty International and Citizen Lab for their ground-breaking work to identify cybersurveillance abuses.

Learn more about The Pegasus Project


Purchase the book Pegasus: How a Spy in Your Pocket Threatens the End of Privacy, Dignity, and Democracy by Laurent Richard and Sandrine Rigaud.


This clip is from the documentary Global Spyware Scandal: Exposing Pegasus.

Khadija Ismayilova, Pegasus Spyware Target | Global Spyware Scandal: Exposing Pegasus | FRONTLINE

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