Police asked to reveal data on procurement of Pegasus 'zero click' spyware

Kompas.com – October 9, 2023
ICW researcher Tibiko Zabar speaking at police headquarters in Jakarta – October 9, 2023 (Kompas)

Icha Rastika, Jakarta – Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) is asking the national police to reveal information on the procurement of phone tapping software or spyware using the zero click method that is allegedly linked to Pegasus.

Pegasus is a spyware developed by the NZO Group, a technology company from Israel.

ICW researcher Tibiko Zabar delivered a letter containing this request to the national police by visiting the national police public relations division building in Jakarta on Monday October 9.

Zabar said that the request for transparency by the ICW is also in line with the provisions of Law Number 14/2008 on Public Information Transparency and Information Commission Regulation (Perki) Number 1/2021 on Public Information Service Standards.

"The national police is one of the institutions that is known, based on data from opentender.net that ICW has checked, that took part in procuring zero click [technology] in 2017, 2018", said Zabar at the national police headquarters (Mabes Polri) in Jakarta on Monday.

"So we intend to ask for information on the procurement contract as regulated in the provisions of the Public Information Transparency Law and also Perki 1/2021, this procurement contract information is periodic information that should be provided by the national police", he said.

Zabar said that the Pegasus spyware using the zero click method was allegedly procured by the Metro Jaya regional police in 2017 and 2018.

This information was obtained by ICW based on findings by the Indonesia Leaks Consortium in July 2023 and research through the opentender.net website.

"Now, what's also interesting, is that over an interval of a year, in 2017, 2018, this procurement was won by a same company and its value in 2018 alone was more than 149 billion [rupiah], the value of the contract", he said.

Referring to the results of the Indonesia Leaks Consortium's findings, said Zabar, there is a possibility that the procurement of this spyware could endanger the sustainability of democracy in Indonesia.

This is because Pegasus can be used to carry out wire-tapping just by the targeted user accessing certain documents or links on their device.

"Now, referring to the Indonesian Leaks findings, we actually see that there is the potential for misuse of this spyware for interests outside of law enforcement, and if we read the Indonesia Leaks findings, it had the potential to and allegedly occurred during the 2019 elections, where there were a number of big name politicians targeted by Pegasus", he said.

Pegasus has the capacity to reliably spy on smart-phone users (Android and iOS) and steal their data.

Pegasus can infect a digital device, whether it's the victim's cellphone or laptop, and see or access what the victim usually sees with the device. It can even turn on a devices' microphone and video when it is not being used and record everything without the owner's knowledge.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "ICW Minta Polri Buka Data Pengadaan Alat Sadap “Zero Click“ Pegasus".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2023/10/09/18315171/icw-minta-polri-buka-data-pengadaan-alat-sadap-zero-click-pegasus