Espionage in the times of the 4T: spyware was used during AMLO’s six-year term

Pegasus was used during the current government (Photo: Reuters)
Pegasus was used during the current government (Photo: Reuters)

The organization Network in Defense of Digital Rights (R3D) posted a research revealing that spyware was used in Mexico on at least three occasions: once against a human rights defender, another against a media outlet, and another against a top-level journalist.

This Sunday, October 2, the Mexican organization dedicated to the defense of human rights in the digital environment presented three cases that have three similarities between them, since according to R3Din these episodes: 1. Deployment of this software confirmed2. they were executed during AMLO’s six-year term and 3. the aggrieved persons carried out investigation work where the Armed Forces allegedly violated human rights.

East spy software was created and marketed to be installed on smart phone equipment. Due to its design, functions and export license, it can only be purchased by governments. This program gained fame during the administration of Enrique Pena Nieto (EPN), who indiscriminately spied on communicators, political opponents, human rights defenders and anyone who was considered a risk to the government headed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

What this program does is infect the victim’s smartphone, violating all user security parameters and granting a third party full access to the information contained therein and even to phone functions such as the microphone and camera.

It is noteworthy that when the president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) began his term in December 2018, stating that this software would no longer be used by the federal government; however, the evidence stolen by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto points out that there are three affected by the malware between 2019 and 2021.

The company responsible for the creation of has reiterated that it only sells its product to governments around the world so that they can protect themselves from external attacks. Along with this, it should be noted that the software is almost undetectable, since its trace is tiny, so the Citizen Labone of the most reliable in the world, is a benchmark in the detection of this spyware and is the authority to define whether it happened or not.

Ricardo Raphael was one of those affected (Photo: File)
Ricardo Raphael was one of those affected (Photo: File)

In addition to the detection of the program in Toronto, it should be noted that the Mexican government has continued to buy from suppliers allegedly related to the creators of the program. This is because, after the leaks of the Guacamaya hacktivist groupit was revealed that the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena) has continued to request quotes from these companies.

It should be remembered that in 2019, Comercializadora Antsua signed a contract with the Migration’s national institute (INM) for “lease and technical support of computer equipment”.

The first of these, according to Citizen Lab, is Raymundo Ramos VazquezPresident of the State Human Rights Committee of Nuevo Laredo, who has documented serious human rights violations in the state of Tamaulipas. His work is linked to cases of forced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial executions allegedly perpetrated by the Armed Forces. The Canadian lab detected three attacks between August and September 2020.

The digital laboratory insists that the violations of the equipment occurred during the AMLO government (Photo: Cuartoscuro)
The digital laboratory insists that the violations of the equipment occurred during the AMLO government (Photo: Cuartoscuro)

Richard Raphael is a journalist, political analyst, researcher and writer of a vast and extensive work who collaborates in different media, both print and digital and broadcast. The Canadian detected four violations in her work team between October 2019 and December 2020.

the last one is Political Animalhalf linked to Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity AC (MCCI), who is dedicated to carrying out special investigations through different collaborators, who have managed to detect cases such as that of The Master Swindle or Operation Sapphire. According to Citizen Lab, in 2021 it was compromised by Pegasus.

Finally, although the López Obrador government has denied contracting and implementing espionage programs; however, Citizen Lab insists that there is at least one active operator in Mexico.


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