Posted in: 07/10/2021 – 09:25
The High Court in London ruled on Wednesday 07/10 that the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, authorized the hacking of the phone of his wife, Princess Haya of Jordan, and her British lawyers.
The court, which is looking into a legal dispute between Sheikh Mohammed and Princess Haya over the custody of their two children, said it found that the 72-year-old vice president and prime minister of the UAE had given “explicit or tacit authorization” to hack into the phone of his sixth wife, Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, using the Pegasus spyware, in facts. Discovered in August 2020.
He added that Sheikh Mohammed also allowed this program to be inserted into the phones of lawyers, the personal assistant and two members of the security team of his 47-year-old wife, against whom he launched a “campaign of intimidation and intimidation.”
Once installed, Pegasus software can track a person’s location, read their messages and emails, listen to their calls, record their live activity, access apps and photos, and operate the camera and microphone remotely. The court said that it had not been proven that the piracy that took place was linked to the dispute before the British judiciary between Sheikh Mohammed and his wife to return their 13-year-old daughter, Zayed, and their nine-year-old son, Zayed, to Dubai.
However, it confirmed that the phone spying allowed to extract 265 megabytes of data (the equivalent of 24 hours of audio recording or 500 photographs). Judge Andrew MacFarlane said that even if the probation was likely carried out “by servants or agents of the father”, the ruler of Dubai “is prepared to use the arm of the state to obtain what he considers correct”.
He added that Sheikh Mohammed “has harassed and intimidated the mother before she left for England and since…and is willing to allow those acting on his behalf to do so against the law in the UK”. The princess, who is the half-sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan, demanded measures to protect her daughter from being subjected to forced marriage, as well as measures to protect her herself, after she fled at the beginning of 2019 from the United Arab Emirates to England.
This summer, the Israeli company, NSO, which developed Pegasus, found itself at the center of a global espionage scandal, after an investigation published by 17 international media outlets showed that the program allowed spying on at least 180 journalists, 600 political figures, 85 human rights activists and 65 business owners in several countries. .
On Wednesday, a source close to “NSO” told AFP that in December the Israeli company suspended the services that Pegasus was providing to the ruler of Dubai. In fact, the company asserts that it follows very strict procedures to prevent its software from being used for illegal purposes. The company also confirms that it provides its customers with the program, but it does not operate it for them, but rather they do it. A NSO spokesperson said the company “has no hesitation in shutting down former clients’ systems, systems worth more than $300 million.”