Multiple European governments are using advanced surveillance tools to spy on their own people, according to a damning new European Parliament report. “EU Member States have been using spyware on their citizens for political purposes and to cover up corruption and criminal activity,” the report reads. “Some went even further and embedded spyware in a system deliberately designed for authoritarian rule.” Exiled former Catalan leader and member of European Parliament Carles Puigdemont speaks during a press conference at the EU Parliament in Brussels on April 19, 2022, after Catalan separatists accused Spain of spying on dozens of its leaders’ mobile phones with Pegasus spyware.
Governments are able to procure this type of equipment, and whilst it all makes sense wanting to protect citizens from terrorism, drug cartels, etc, it is often used to spy on a government's own citizens and opponents. We saw the same happening with the NSA in the USA, and as much as many want to think it is only "foreign" countries that do this, it's probably time we started waking up to the reality. It's no wonder there is a growing interest in privacy tools, personal encryption, and avoidance of large centralised social networks and instant messengers.
A parting thought though is, even though you may not care a fig about your own privacy, whenever you connect to services like Facebook, Whatsapp, and similar, you are sharing your contacts phone numbers and addresses (so they can help you find your friends online of course) and very often the metadata such as when those friends messaged you, their location, etc.
Of course, it's nothing really new, it's just the tools have got better, and we are becoming more aware now of who is watching who...
See Europe’s Spyware Scandal Is a Global Wakeup Call
Poland purchased Pegasus with funds intended to support victims of crime—and then used it to monitor opposition figures.