Israel Sells Phone Hacking Technology to Pakistan’s Security Forces
According to a report, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other police agencies in Pakistan have been using hacking tools created by the Israeli cyber technology company Cellebrite since at least 2012.
By breaking into password-protected mobile phones, the technology that the Israeli company sold to Pakistan enables law enforcement agencies to perform digital forensic analysis. The information on these devices, including pictures, documents, text messages, call logs, and contacts, can then be copied by security forces.
Pakistan has pledged to recognize Israel only after a legitimate Palestinian state has been established following the UN’s two-state solution, which it currently does not do. Israeli products are formally boycotted by the government, and it is against the law for Pakistanis to visit Israel.
It is unlikely that the South Asian nation will receive the disclosure of these transactions favoring an Israeli company and the Pakistani government well.
According to Cellbrite’s CEO Yossi Carmill, its technology is only sold to law enforcement organizations for use in combating serious crimes like terrorism. According to Haaretz, there is ample evidence that state organizations have repressed minorities, civil society organizations, and human rights advocates using Cellebrite technology over the years.
Despite the CEO’s assertions, several oppressive governments, some of which are subject to sanctions, such as China, Belarus, Venezuela, and Russia, are clients of Cellebrite.
The US State Department’s 2022 report on human rights highlighted the widespread use of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, and torture by Pakistani security forces, who are known to engage in serious violations of human rights and freedom of expression.
According to analysts, Israel is gaining a reputation as the go-to location for authoritarians seeking cutting-edge spy technologies as its government has shifted further to the right. Israel frequently tests these technologies on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
Digital weapons, like Pegasus spyware, have been exported by this “cyber diplomacy” to autocratic governments like Saudi Arabia and more.