According to the Israeli newspaper Calcalist, the Israeli police used spyware from the Israeli company NSO Group to hack the phones of Israeli citizens without a court order.
The report states that Israeli police purchased NSO’s Pegasus spyware in December 2013 and deployed it after December 2015.
They are said to have intercepted calls and messages on the mobile phones of Israelis not suspected of crimes.
To carry out the cell phone surveillance, senior officers issue orders to a classified police cyber unit.
The report revealed that police hacked the leaders of the Black Flag movement in 2020.
They used it to spy on two mayors suspected of corruption, anti-LGBTQ activists, and in murder investigations.
Following the report, Israeli Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev tweeted that police do not hack devices without court approval, and said he would seek more oversight.
NSO Group, the company behind the controversial malware, is under global scrutiny, particularly from the U.S. for its role in aiding authoritarian governments and its abuse of human rights.
For more information, read the original story in NPR.