Mexican police bought software to sell cartels and spy on journalists

The Mexican authorities bought spyware under the guise of fighting crime, but they used it to track journalists and activists, and also provided surveillance services to cartels or reselling software to them. Forbidden Stories, an international network of investigative journalists, found this out.

The actions of the police have been known since 2012. Dozens of journalists and activists have been killed following investigations into corruption and government ties to criminal gangs. Despite the fact that the authorities have denied such allegations, journalists are convinced of the opposite.

It turned out that the authorities purchased software from more than 20 foreign companies, including the Israeli NSO Group and the Italian Hacking Team. Officially, it can only be used to combat crime. However, corrupt officials used it to put pressure on the press, and cartels could acquire it for their own purposes, or “order” wiretapping from the police for a bribe.

Back in 2014, several Mexican journalists filed a lawsuit against the authorities, accusing them of spying with Pegasus software, which is commonly used to wiretap terrorists. It was noted that surveillance was conducted on human rights defenders, activists and journalists critical of the Mexican government.

Reporters Without Borders estimates that Mexico is one of the top five countries for the number of journalists killed in 2020.

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