Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has expressed regret over the inclusion of Algeria in the list of countries that acquired the Israeli Pegasus software used in spying operations on smartphones. RSF stated that it had made a mistake hours after Algeria filed a lawsuit against the organisation.
RSF published a statement on its official website to apologise for accusing Algeria of purchasing the Israeli spyware. This sparked an international scandal following allegations of Morocco's involvement in an unprecedented espionage operation against thousands of political and media figures worldwide, including Algeria.
The apology stated: "We initially included Algeria in the list of countries cooperating with NSO, the Israeli company that developed the Pegasus software. This mistake, which we regret, has been fixed." Thus, RSF removed only Algeria from the article.
Algeria filed a lawsuit against the organisation after being accused of acquiring the Pegasus spyware.
In a statement, the Algerian Embassy in France said that the lawsuit was filed by Ambassador Mohamed-Antar Daoud on behalf of the Algerian government and came in response to the organisation's article published on its official website on 19 July, claiming that Algeria is among the countries that purchased the Pegasus spyware.
The statement categorically denied these allegations, while confirming that Algeria did not acquire, use the programme, nor cooperate with any party to carry out espionage acts.
Algeria opened a judicial investigation at the level of the Sidi M'hamed Court of Algiers, after news circulated about Morocco's involvement in spying operations targeting the phones of about 6,000 political, military personalities and journalists using the Pegasus spyware.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Algeria expressed its deep concern over the involvement of the authorities of some countries, in particular the Kingdom of Morocco, in the widespread use of the Pegasus spyware against Algerian officials and citizens, in addition to journalists and human rights defenders around the world.
The statement indicated: "These illegal, unacceptable and dangerous practices undermine the climate of trust that should prevail in exchanges and interactions between officials and representatives of countries."