09:46 GMT25 July 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Pavel Durov, the founder of the Telegram messenger app, knew that at least since 2018 he has been listed among potential targets of Pegasus spyware, he said on Wednesday.

    The Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday that Durov is on the list of Israeli cyberintelligence firm NSO Group as a person of interest for its government clients using the Pegasus spyware.

    "Since at least 2018, I have been aware that one of my phone numbers was included in a list of potential targets of such surveillance tools (although a source from the NSO Group denies it)," Durov wrote on his Telegram channel.

    The 36 year old called for forcing the Apple-Google duopoly to open their closed ecosystems and allow for more competition, adding that "the existence of backdoors [used by Apple and Google] in crucial infrastructure and software creates a huge challenge for humanity."

    "I hope the news that they themselves have been targeted by these surveillance tools will prompt politicians to change their minds," he added.

    NSO Group stated that the program was only sold to governments to prevent terrorist attacks and other crimes, while the journalistic probe exposed multiple privacy rights abuses by state-linked NSO clients.

    Tags:
    probe, Pegasus, government surveillance, Israel
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