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Israel Vows to Ban Hacking of French Phones

Israel Vows to Ban Hacking of French Phones

Saturday, 23 October, 2021 - 10:00
French President Emmanuel Macron during a summit (File photo: AFP)

The Israeli national security advisor Eyal Hulata met with the top adviser to the French president, Emmanuel Bonne, to discuss the alleged hacking of French ministers by a client of NSO Group, the Israeli spyware maker.

According to security sources in Tel Aviv, Hulata met with Bonne and pledged that the intelligence and the rest of the Israeli security services would ban the hacking of French cell phones in any future spyware deal between an Israeli firm and a third country.

The secret talks in Paris were held to defuse tensions between the two countries over the alleged hacking of top French officials' phones with controversial Pegasus spyware last July.

Back then, Le Monde newspaper reported that Pegasus was used by a Moroccan security service targeting the phone numbers of President Emmanuel Macron. Rabat has denied any involvement that it has spied on any public figures.

The French presidency froze much of political, security, and intelligence cooperation with Israel following the report.

The Israeli security services and diplomatic bodies rushed to conduct quiet talks with the French to contain the crisis.

According to the Walla news site in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett assigned Hulata to this task.

Hulata presented his French counterpart with in-depth explanations of the Pegasus program and its proposals to solve the crisis.

He pledged that Israel would include France in the group of five countries that ban monitoring its phones, namely the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

According to Israeli sources, Paris agreed to end the crisis but is gradually resuming cooperation.

The Pegasus program is known to be based on a technology that hacks mobile phones, copies their content, and uses phones remotely to record conversations and take pictures.

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