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And Cyprus among the states that produce and sell surveillance software-No response from Drakos since July

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Και η Κyπροσ στα κρΕτη που παρΕγουν και πουλοyν λ&omicron γισμικπαρακολουθorσεων-Καμiα απαντηση Δρακου απo Ιοyλιο

At least nine member states produce and sell surveillance software, while NSO admits to having supplied it to services in 14 European countries, MEP Giorgos Georgiou said on Friday at a working lunch he organized in collaboration with the Office of the European Parliament in Cyprus.  The topic of the discussion was the work of the PEGA Special Committee of the European Parliament and the current situation in the EU regarding the rule of law and transparency.

Mr. Georgiou thanked the journalists and the Non-Governmental Organizations, because, as he said, through their action, they highlighted the issue and from there began “this huge effort of consolidation and transparency, as well as the rule of law and the protection of our fundamental rights”.

He explained that the case of surveillance officially came under the microscope of the European Parliament with the approval of the PEGASUS Committee of Inquiry, on March 10, 2022, at the Strasbourg Plenary.

Its aim, he said, was to investigate and offer treatment, in the form of recommendations, to the burning issue of the misuse of surveillance software against journalists, human rights defenders, politicians and unsuspecting citizens.

He noted that “we are in front of a European framework which formally covers the rights of journalists, as well as those of other European citizens, but at the difficult time when the legislation had to be implemented in practice, the deconstruction began, the targeting of journalists, but also of of the PEGASUS Commission itself which was formed to investigate the whole matter”.

The MEP pointed out that the examples of monitoring and spreading of illegal software in European and third countries are now many and well-known. He briefly referred to the admission that former Presidents of the Republic, Commissioners, top European officials, politicians, journalists and activists were being monitored.

He also mentioned the murders of journalists Daphnis Galitzia and Jamal Khashoggi. Mr Georgiou stated that it is admissible that several European companies are involved in the development, use and dissemination of surveillance software.

“At least nine member states produce and sell such systems, while NSO claims to have supplied them to services in 14 European countries,” he said. He added that in Spain the heads of the secret services resigned, while there was an admission of use of this tool by the governments of Poland, Hungary, the Netherlands and Greece.

Mr. Georgiou said that the European Parliament considered, rightly, that these revelations seem to confirm the dangers of the misuse of surveillance technology to undermine human rights and democracy and therefore could not go unnoticed.

He stated that only the European Parliament has shown the political will to contribute to this effort, unlike the European Council and the European Commission.

Mr. Georgiou, after extensively analyzing the work of PEGA, said, among other things, that so far the Commission has organized missions to Israel, Poland, Cyprus, Greece and another mission to Spain is expected in the near future, while it has organized a series of hearings on the use of tracking software in Hungary, Spain, Poland, Greece, Israel and Germany.

“Cyprus is a wild vine”, says the MEP

Report with Cyprus, Mr. Georgiou stated that reports and information about the operation of companies that provide and export illegal software from Cyprus, as well as the interconnection of the Republic of Cyprus with surveillance in the Greek area, have now been confirmed.

He added that the descent of the PEGASUS Commission to Cyprus and Greece between November 1 – 4, 2022, as part of an investigative mission, confirmed this in the clearest way.

In essence, he said, “we have before us a simple and essential issue. Nation states, such as Cyprus and Greece, have binding obligations under international law to protect human rights from abuse by third parties. In the case of Cyprus, these “third parties” are specific. These are the well-known Israeli agents Dilian and Avni”.

He pointed out that as in an unripe vine, Israeli companies found fertile ground and the tolerance of the Cypriot government and developed their software at an experimental stage. “The virus and the ghosts of the illegal software arrived from Nicosia to Athens,” he noted.

Mr. Georgiou stated that he submitted to the Minister of Justice a series of questions regarding the surveillance software, since July 12 and they remain to date unanswered.

Committee Recommendations

Mr. Georgiou stated that although the Commission is in the process of processing its two reports, the Fact Report and the Recommendation Report, it is nevertheless almost certain that its conclusions, in the form of recommendations,  even though there is an ongoing deforestation effort are not open to dispute.

He also referred to complaints that exist about Cyprus and the ruling party even though, as he added, no spyware infections have been detected so far and that Cyprus is on record as a an important European export center for the surveillance industry and an attractive location for companies selling surveillance technologies.

MEP Georgiou said that the Report is expected to conclude that violations and mismanagement may have occurred in Cyprus the application of Union law and calls on it to thoroughly evaluate all export licenses that have been issued for spyware and revoke them where appropriate.

Source: www.reporter.com.cy

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