Rwanda denies hacking Ramaphosa, but exiles in SA say spying is 'a way of life'

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Gallo Images

Exiled from Rwanda since 1994, Etienne Mutabazi was not surprised to find his name on a leaked list of people targeted by Pegasus spyware. The lawyer and activist found himself in the company of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was also named as a target of the Pegasus software.

The Pegasus Project, a collaborative international investigative journalism project, uncovered a data leak of more than 50 000 numbers of individuals believed to be selected for cyber surveillance by the NSO Group, an Israeli cyber security firm.

The data leak shows the surveillance software has been used by governments around the world to spy on journalists, activists and, in the case of Morocco, even their own royal family. More than 3 500 Rwandan numbers were possibly on the list, according to the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, one of the organisations that worked on the project.

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