Pegasus software is not used by the RCMP, assures Marco Mendicino

Pegasus software is not used by the RCMP, assures Marco Mendicino


Federal Minister of Public Security Marco Mendicino says the RCMP does not use the controversial Israeli spyware Pegasus, but acknowledges that similar technology was used to penetrate at least 49 mobile devices since 2017.

Called to testify Monday before the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, the Minister assured parliamentarians that the process was entirely legal and was only used 'after a 'rigorous process'.

It was Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Brenda Lucki who said in a letter tabled with the committee that software used by the RCMP had been used in 32 “very serious” offense investigations since 2017.

The RCMP had to obtain the necessary warrants from the Superior Court and prove that they could not obtain the information sought by other means, said Mr. Mendicino.

< p>He has made it known that he would be ready to ban the Pegasus software, the best known of the spyware programs which have already been used by several intelligence services throughout the world.

One of the most famous cases is that of Saudi Arabia, which allegedly used Pegasus to spy on journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The latter had been murdered and dismembered in Istanbul in 2018 by Saudi power henchmen.

Earlier in the day, Canada's new privacy commissioner, Philippe Dufresne, asked that elected officials make it mandatory to prepare privacy impact studies when adopting new technologies.

Mr. Dufresne said he was not made aware of the RCMP's use of such software.