Mexican privacy watchdog criticizes government over spyware

Posted at 3:57 PM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 15:57:24-05

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's privacy watchdog says the Attorney General's Office stonewalled it for more than a year as it tried to investigate the government's use of powerful Israeli spyware against journalists, lawyers and activists.

Commissioners of Mexico's Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data say that just this week the Attorney General's Office provided for the first-time licensing contracts from 2016 and 2017 for the Pegasus software from Israel's NSO Group.

Initially, the office had denied the contracts existed, then had refused to divulge them before eventually capitulating.

Commissioners were incredulous Wednesday at the idea that the government would spend $32 million on software and then maintain that it hadn't used it. Yet the government earlier told them it had no records of the software being employed.