Mexico spyware scandal widens to include the opposition

Peña Nieto’s Government doesn’t seem to catch a break

Santos & Castro

The foreign experts, convened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), who were called in to investigate the disappearance of the students from Ayotzinapa, have repeatedly accused the Mexican government of intruding in their work and trying to interfere with the investigation using spyware. The software was created in Israel and is sold by the NSO Group under the condition to be exclusively used to investigate criminals and terrorists. Interesting enough, journalists, human rights activist, and opposition politicians have allegedly testified to a group of experts that the government has been trying to observe them and their work. 

Citizen lab, which is part of the University of Toronto, has been supporting the accusations because they have found, with the use of forensic analysts, that the victims’ mobile phones were hacked through text message. The Mexican government has denied the allegations and has open an investigation; it is an extremely delicate situation because the IACHR is expecting an answer on why there were traces of spyware in the cellphones of the team investigating Ayotzinapa’s deaths. For Peña Nieto, the situation is becoming more complex now that he is also facing a low citizen approval rate. The Mexican president’s term has been plagued by scandals and if he doesn’t prove that said allegations are false, the IACHR will follow up in order to determine the responsable party. 

Some Latin American countries, such as Guatemala and El Salvador, have expressed their concern about the spyware scandal and started investigating if their administrations have been targeted as well. The United States was the first nation to inspect its diplomats cellphones; so far, they haven’t found traces of the spyware. The Organization of the American States has also been interested in the Mexican government’s response to the accusations, as it could be violating the Inter-Democratic Charter. If so, this subject could be the next challenge for the OAS.


Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gomez Avella

Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto

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