Mexico City – Mexican prosecutors said Monday that they had detained a man accused of spying on a journalist using the Pegasus software at the center of a global spyware scandal.
The suspect, identified as Juan Carlos “G,” is thought to be the first person arrested in Mexico for using the controversial software developed by Israeli firm NSO Group.
He was detained in the central city of Queretaro on charges of illegally monitoring communications and transferred to a prison in Mexico City, the attorney general’s office said.
The suspect’s actions against the unnamed journalist were aimed at “limiting and undermining her freedom of expression,” it said in a statement.
In July, an international media investigation called the Pegasus Project revealed that 25 journalists in Mexico were among the targets of NSO clients .
One of them, Cecilio Pineda, was murdered in March 2017.
In total, around 15 000 Mexican smartphone numbers were reported to be among more than 50 000 believed to have been selected by NSO clients for potential surveillance.
The numbers included President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s inner circle when he was opposition leader and political rival of then-president Enrique Pena Nieto.
According to the Pegasus Project investigation, Mexican agencies that have acquired the spyware include the defense ministry, the attorney general’s office and the national security intelligence service.
Lopez Obrador has said that the authorities now only spy on criminals and not political opponents or reporters.