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Israel Police Accused of Systematic Warrantless Surveillance of Smartphones; Attorney General Investigates

Publications / Jan 30, 2022

Article written by Haim Ravia and Dotan Hammer

An investigative journalism report published by the “Calcalist” daily newspaper accuses the Israel National Police of spying on innocent individuals by using NSO’s “Pegasus” surreptitious surveillance software on their mobile phones, without warrants authorizing the Police to do so.

The Police reportedly use Pegasus to surveil protesters, intelligence targets, politicians, and other public officials, as part of preliminary but warrantless investigations under color of law. The Police’s method of operation seals the evidence obtained by Pegasus as privileged and confidential until a formal investigation can be initiated and the Police can justifiably re-obtain the same evidence with a proper warrant.

Following the publication on “Calcalist”, the Attorney General of Israel announced the establishment of a designated team to investigate the matter. In his letter to the Police, the Attorney General indicated the use of surveillance technology should be done within the scope of the Wiretap Law and warned that if the allegations turn out to be true, they may constitute a criminal offense by Police officials.