Army reserved Pegasus contracts for five years: El Universal

The Transparency Committee of the National Defense Secretariat (Sedena) classified as Pegasus spyware contract information reserved for five years, developed by the isreaeli cyber surveillance company NSO Group.

This is how the newspaper announced this morning The universalwhich pointed out that the Sedena’s decision comes despite the fact that on January 29 the National Institute for Transparency and Access to Information (Inai) ordered the institution to disclose the contracts with the Antsua Marketing company, spyware provider.

In its resolution, the Army committee considered that there is a risk in disclosing the contracts, since it is information related to the national security of the country.

He specified that it is the acquisition of equipment and services for the generation of military intelligence, so there is a real risk in this regard.

In this sense, disclosing the information could favor members of groups “disaffected with the government” or members of organized crime “have knowledge of the technology used by the government to carry out actions that guarantee the national security and internal security of the country”.

“Since organized crime, knowing the equipment to generate military intelligence, better instruments could be provided to sabotage operations that are carried out with various authorities from the three levels of government”, reports the newspaper.

Therefore, “disclosing contractual instruments, services, training, rules and procedures, as well as plans, protocols and technology to generate and exploit information that favors military intelligence may jeopardize the prevention of crimes such as sabotage, espionage and terrorismin addition to potential threats against the Mexican government.”

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For the Sedena, the risk of disclosing the information It is greater than the public interest to know it, which inclines the so-called “damage test” in favor of the informative reserve.

In accordance with the transparency law, the information may be known once the corresponding period expires, or, when the causes stop concurring that gave rise to your reservation.

The resolution issued by INAI in January, under the presentation of Commissioner Josefina Román, stated that It is the duty of the authorities to publicize the contracts made with public resources.

This Tuesday morning, Aristegui News and other media announced that the devices of the director and the coordinator of the International Area of ​​the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh), Santiago Aguirre and Maria Luisa Aguilar, They were infected with the Pegasus program, the spyware that is only sold to governments to prosecute crimes, but which in Mexico has been used against human rights defenders, journalists, and citizens.

The directors of the center were the target of at least five infections around June, July and September 2022according to an opinion issued by Citizen Lab published today.

The phones of the victims of espionage received an alert from Apple in December 2022, notifying that they would have suffered an illegal intrusion by “State-sponsored attackers.”

The evidence collected by Article 19, the Network in Defense of Digital Rights, Social Tic, the Prodh Center itself and media such as Aristegui News, Process and Political Animal points out that It is precisely the Mexican Army that uses this tool, even without having requested a single court order.

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The available elements make the Prodh Center call the Army to account. In a statement published today, they point out that this type of espionage, “in contexts demanding truth and justice, as well as denouncing militarization, reveals an institution that is increasingly empowered and without adequate controls, resistant to accountability and that works under undemocratic logic, without subordination to civil order, which confirms the consequences for human rights and for democracy of the deepening of militarization that we are currently experiencing”.

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