Hungary admits to using Pegasus spyware

Hungary is the first European country to become a client of the NSO Group.

The Hungarian government has acknowledged the purchase and use of commercial spyware Pegasus from the Israeli company NSO Group.

The head of the Parliamentary Defense and Law Enforcement Committee, Lajos Kósa, told reporters that Hungary acquired access to the notorious spyware, but used it only with the permission of a judge or the Ministry of Justice. Thus, Hungary is the first European country to become a client of the NSO Group.

The parliamentary committee, whose transcripts are sealed and classified until 2050 (which shocked Hungarian journalists this week), was formed after a global journalistic investigation revealed that the Hungarian government had used Pegasus to spy on local journalists, government critics and the opposition. …

As the investigation showed, more than 300 people became victims of spyware in Hungary. The news sparked numerous calls for an official investigation into the government’s actions and even street protests in Budapest. In turn, the government refused to officially confirm any findings of the investigation, promising to look into the matter.

However, a few hours after the unexpected statements made by Kosha after the parliamentary committee meeting, which was supposed to be secret, the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior tried to recant and distance itself from the legislator’s remarks.

“The Ministry of the Interior has never commented on or discussed statements made by members of parliament after committee meetings,” the ministry’s press service told the local newspaper Telex.

The press service also noted that the Hungarian government is not engaged in illegal surveillance of citizens.

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