The European Data Protection Supervisor has called for the Pegasus spyware tool to be banned in order to protect people’s fundamental rights.
Last July, an international investigation revealed that the spyware, developed by technology company NSO Group, could have been used by governments around the world, including in Poland and Hungary, to hack into the phones of journalists, activists and politicians.
In a statement, the EDPS, who enforces privacy rules for EU institutions, said it was “highly unlikely” the spyware could meet the proportionality requirements.
“The EDPS believes that a ban on the development and deployment of spyware with the Pegasus capability in the EU would be the most effective option to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms,” the statement said, which comes as the European Parliament discusses the use of spyware.
The EDPS said that if governments use Pegasus, they should apply eight steps, including strengthening democratic control over surveillance measures and strictly applying EU privacy rules.
Last week, MEPs said they would set up a commission of inquiry into the use of the technology.