New York Times journalists conducted an investigation, during which they found out that the FBI secretly bought the Pegasus program from the Israeli NSO Group to spy on iPhone owners back in 2019. In addition, the US authorities received more powerful cyber weapons from the NSO Group.
Earlier it was reported that the Israeli police illegally used Pegasus spyware against its citizens. Now, the New York Times has published the results of a year-long investigation that the US government was considering using Pegasus and more advanced tools to spy on locals.
In 2019, the FBI secretly bought Pegasus spyware, after which the NSO Group presented the agency with a demonstration of a new Phantom tool that allowed hacking American phone numbers.
Over the next two years, the FBI and the US Department of Justice discussed the possibility of deploying the Phantom tool for total surveillance of citizens, however, in the summer of 2021, the department opposed the developments of the NSO Group.
However, the Pegasus and Phantom are still being used by the FBI at a secret facility in New Jersey. Probably, on their basis, the US authorities will develop other tools for surveillance using smartphones.
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