Investigating how an Israeli cyber-weapons technology is being used by governments to spy on civilians.

"Targeted by a Text", 2019. Saudi Arabia is one of several countries that purchased a powerful hacking program called Pegasus, which was developed by NSO Group, a secretive Israeli company. While the company claims its tool is used to target criminals and terrorists, there is evidence to suggest it has been used against family members of murder victims and human rights investigators. This film shows how NSO Group operates among a burgeoning global industry of shadowy cyber-weapons sellers, competing with one another for lucrative government contracts and what this means for the privacy of people who challenge the authority of their country’s elite.

In this Emmy-nominated Fault Lines episode, Josh Rushing talks to journalists in Mexico who have been targeted by Pegasus attacks, then travels to London to meet Yahya Assiri, a Saudi dissident living in self-exile and Pegasus target, who was in daily contact with Jamal Khashoggi. He eventually finds himself on the doorstep of one of NSO's founders — years before NSO Group would become a household name in Washington, DC.

I mean even our society hasn't really caught up with our technology, right? I think that the targeting of these high-risk people should be understood as canaries in the digital coal mine. We're sort of in the early days for the proliferation of this kind of technology.

John Scott-Railton, The Citizen Lab
Laila Al-Arian, executive producer | Mark Scialla, producer | Nicholas Kraus, director of photography | Leslie Adkins, editor | Josh Rushing, correspondent