Controller Madanyahu Ingleman announced the investigation following a revelation the previous day by the Calcalist business daily.
Technological methods are used as evidence in criminal proceedings, but raise questions about the balance between their benefits and damage to the right to privacy, the official stressed in a statement.
For its part, Channel 12 insisted that Attorney General Avichai Mandleblit seek clarification from the police on the allegations, which were rejected by body inspector General Kobe Shabda.
Johann Tanino, the company’s former chairman, said he would never approve the use of cell phone hacking technology as described in the article.
Meanwhile, his successor Modi Cohen declined to comment, although he said he had read the press release.
Calcalist revealed that the order to use the scheme, developed by the NSO group to monitor citizens without the supervision of a judge, was issued by top police officials and executed by a special task force of the organization’s Internet division.
According to the source, in 2020, agents spied on protesters’ conversations against then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a mayor and a close ally of a politician. Evidence of corruption was sought in the last two cases.
Communications of government employees under investigation for alleged fraud were also cut off.
In some cases, phone hacking was chosen as an easy solution, which saves police time, but the cost is a serious invasion of the privacy of citizens, some of whom have committed no crime, the publication warned.
For example, he cites a cell phone tapping on the grounds that critics of the Pride Parade in Jerusalem in the summer of 2015 may have started violent acts.
A team of journalists from 17 international media outlets, including Haaretz, Die Zeit, The Guardian, and The Washington Post, revealed on July 18, 2021 that about 50,000 phone numbers in the world were being targeted for spying potential through the software.
rgh / rob