The director of Citizen Lab, surprised by the espionage scandal acceptance in Spain

Ron Deibert says in an interview with the Guardian that he would ask for an impartial investigation, "but it seems that this will not happen"

16.05.2022 - 12:48
Actualització: 13.06.2022 - 10:12

This week marks a month since the outbreak of Catalangate, the espionage scandal against pro-independence politicians uncovered by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab. Its director, Ron Deibert, has been interviewed by The Guardian and he is surprised by Spain’s inaction to clarify the facts. Last week he visited Spain himself and was able to feel the “complacency” of the people, who have “no problem with the fact that Catalan politicians are being investigated”.

Deibert says in the interview that if he were a Spanish citizen he would ask for an impartial investigation: “But it seems that this will not happen.” On the dismissal of the former director of Sain’s intelligence agency CNI, Paz Esteban, Deibert believes that she has been a scapegoat and that it does not serve to clarify responsibilities. The main questions remain unanswered: who bought the Pegasus software, who  authorized its use and how was it justified in pursuing persons “who are clearly not legitimate targets by any reasonable international standard and which involved serious violations of the rights of privacy.”

Actually, the Spanish government has not related Esteban’s dismissal with the Catalangate, but rather with the phone hacking of  Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez and some of his ministers. Deibert says that although he did not have information about these attacks, which also affected the Spanish Minister of Defense, he believes that there are two possible scenarios regarding the authorship: it is either a foreign government, possibly Morocco, or a Spanish agency that acts against the state.

According to the Canadian professor and analyst, the Catalangate scandal is an illustrative case of how the use of such software without control and supervision can trigger democratic crises.

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