Pegasus spyware has been used to silence critics of the Ghanaian government, chilling free speech and human rights. Learn more about the impact of Pegasus on Ghana and other African countries.
The Pegasus Project was a collaborative investigation by 17 media organizations that revealed that the Pegasus spyware, developed by the Israeli company NSO Group, had been used to target and surveil thousands of journalists, human rights activists, opposition politicians, and other individuals around the world.
The investigation found that the Ghanaian government was one of the users of Pegasus and that the spyware had been used to target a number of journalists and activists in the country.
What is Pegasus?
Pegasus is a powerful spyware that can be installed on a smartphone without the user’s knowledge or consent. Once installed, Pegasus can give the attacker complete access to the phone, including the ability to read messages, listen to calls, and track the phone’s location. Pegasus can also be used to activate the phone’s camera and microphone, allowing the attacker to remotely monitor the user’s surroundings.
How has Pegasus been used in Ghana?
The Pegasus Project investigation found that the Ghanaian government had used Pegasus to target a number of journalists and activists in the country. One of the victims was Edward Adeti, a journalist who had been investigating corruption in the government. Adeti’s phone was infected with Pegasus in 2020, and the spyware was used to monitor his communications and track his location.
Another victim was Anas Aremeyaw Anas, an award-winning investigative journalist. Anas’ phone was infected with Pegasus in 2019, and the spyware was used to monitor his communications and track his location. Anas was also targeted with a number of other surveillance measures, including being followed by government agents and having his home raided.
The use of Pegasus in Ghana has had a chilling effect on freedom of speech and human rights. Journalists and activists are now more reluctant to speak out against the government, for fear of being targeted with Pegasus. The spyware has also been used to target opposition politicians and other critics of the government.
In addition to its impact on freedom of speech and human rights, the use of Pegasus in Ghana also raises concerns about the government’s commitment to the rule of law. The use of spyware without a warrant is illegal in Ghana, but the government has not taken any action to investigate the use of Pegasus or to hold those responsible accountable.
Status of Pegasus Project After Revelations
The Pegasus Project revelations have led to a number of developments in Ghana. In July 2021, the Ghanaian government admitted to using Pegasus but denied that it had been used to target journalists or activists. The government also said that it would only use Pegasus in accordance with the law.
The Pegasus Project revelations have had a significant impact on the way that people view the use of surveillance technology by governments in Africa. Many people are now concerned about the potential for Pegasus to be used to suppress dissent and silence critics. There have also been calls for more transparency and accountability from governments about their use of surveillance technology.
- In October 2021, a group of Ghanaian journalists and activists filed a lawsuit against the government over its use of Pegasus. The lawsuit alleges that the government’s use of Pegasus is illegal and violates the journalists’ and activists’ right to privacy and freedom of expression.
- In March 2023, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the Ghanaian government to investigate the use of Pegasus and to hold those responsible accountable. The resolution also called on the European Union to impose sanctions on NSO Group and other companies that sell spyware to governments.
The use of Pegasus to target human rights activists and journalists is a violation of their right to privacy and freedom of expression. It also undermines the rule of law and makes it more difficult for individuals to hold the government accountable.
Other African countries using Pegasus
In addition to Ghana, a number of other African countries have been found to be using Pegasus. These countries include:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- South Africa
The use of Pegasus in these countries has raised concerns about the growing surveillance state in Africa.
The use of Pegasus in Ghana has a number of implications for the country’s democracy and human rights.
First, it undermines the public’s right to information. When journalists are afraid to report on sensitive topics, the public is less informed about what is happening in their country. This makes it more difficult for citizens to participate in the democratic process.
Second, it undermines the rule of law. The use of Pegasus without a warrant is illegal in Ghana. However, the government has not taken any action to investigate the use of Pegasus or to hold those responsible accountable. This suggests that the government is not committed to the rule of law.
Third, it creates a climate of fear and intimidation. When people know that they could be targeted by Pegasus for speaking out against the government, they are less likely to do so. This creates a climate of fear and intimidation that undermines democracy and human rights.
The use of Pegasus in Ghana is a serious threat to freedom of speech and human rights. The Ghanaian government must take steps to investigate the use of Pegasus and to hold those responsible accountable. The government must also commit to protecting the right to privacy and freedom of expression of all Ghanaians.