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Mon Jun 19, 2017, 05:08 AM

Using Texts as Lures, Government Spyware Targets Mexican Activists and Their Families

JUNE 19, 2017

MEXICO CITY ó Mexicoís most prominent human rights lawyers, journalists and anti-corruption activists have been targeted by advanced spyware sold to the Mexican government on the condition that it be used only to investigate criminals and terrorists.

The targets include lawyers looking into the mass disappearance of 43 students, a highly respected academic who helped write anti-corruption legislation, two of Mexicoís most influential journalists and an American representing victims of sexual abuse by the police. The spying even swept up family members, including a teenage boy.

Since 2011, at least three Mexican federal agencies have purchased about $80 million worth of spyware created by an Israeli cyberarms manufacturer. The software, known as Pegasus, infiltrates smartphones to monitor every detail of a personís cellular life ó calls, texts, email, contacts and calendars. It can even use the microphone and camera on phones for surveillance, turning a targetís smartphone into a personal bug.

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But according to dozens of messages examined by The New York Times and independent forensic analysts, the software has been used against some of the governmentís most outspoken critics and their families, in what many view as an unprecedented effort to thwart the fight against the corruption infecting every limb of Mexican society.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/19/world/americas/mexico-spyware-anticrime.html?_r=0

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