Spyware and the Press

Feb 2023

Authoritarian and rights-abusing regimes are increasingly using malicious spyware to surveil and intimidate journalists, threatening press freedom around the world. Late last year, the Knight Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of journalists and other members of El Faro—one of Central America’s leading independent news organizations. Over a 16-month period, El Faro’s employees were subjected to more than 200 attacks that relied on NSO Group’s Pegasus technology. Their iPhones were accessed remotely and surreptitiously, their communications and activities were monitored, and their personal data was accessed and stolen. What implications does the proliferation of spyware have for press freedom, democracy, and human rights? And what can be done to hold accountable the companies that sell this technology, and the governments (and others) who use it against journalists?


Image Credit: Richard Mia Collection

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