The European Commission (EC) stated this Tuesday that it expects the authorities of the Member States investigate the allegations of alleged espionage of politicians and journalists revealed in recent days in several countries of the European Union (EU) and pointed out that these potential attempts to access citizen data are “unacceptable” if they are confirmed.
“The investigation of these matters is the responsibility of each Member State. We hope that the national authorities will examine the allegations and restore confidence,” said community spokesman Johannes Bahrke.
This reply comes a day after The New Yorker published that the president of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, former presidents Quim Torra and Artur Mas and those around Carles Puigdemont were allegedly victimsalong with more than 60 independence leaders, from the Pegasus cyber espionage system, although the EC spokesman was answering a question about another case of espionage and surveillance of a Greek economic journalist.
Member States must “monitor and control” their security services
Bahrke stressed that the Member States “have the power to safeguard national security” and must “monitor and control” their security services to “ensure that they comply with fundamental rights”, such as the protection of personal data, the safety of journalists and freedom of expression.
“Any attempt by the national security services to access citizen data, which of course includes journalists, or politicians It is unacceptable if it is confirmed”, added the spokesman, who has assured that the Commission is closely following the journalistic revelations about the use of this type of software.
The Pegasus program is a program of the Israeli company NOS Group that can only be purchased by governments and security forces and bodies to combat crime and terrorism. It is a cyber espionage tool that infects mobile devices without the owner’s knowledge and is capable of using them as microphones, recording videos, reading messages or modifying stored files.
Extraordinary meeting of the Government
On the other hand, Aragonès will lead this Tuesday afternoon an extraordinary meeting with different members of the Government competent in the fields of security, cybersecurity, foreign action and legal services, to coordinate a response to the case of political espionage to some 60 independence leaders.
The meeting will be attended by the Vice President and Minister of Digital Policies, Jordi Puigneró; the Minister of the Presidency, Laura Vilagrà; the Minister of the Interior, Joan Ignasi Elena; and the General Secretary of Foreign Action and Open Government, LLuís Baulenas, all of them heads of departments in charge of security, cybersecurity, foreign action and legal services.
After this meeting behind closed doors, President Aragonès and Vice President Puigneró will appear at a press conference at 4:30 p.m.