In recent days, Israeli media has reported that controversial hacking tool made by Israel's NSO Group was used against a key witness in Netanyahu's corruption trial.

It remains unclear whether any of the evidence allegedly gathered was used against Netanyahu.
It remains unclear whether any of the evidence allegedly gathered was used against Netanyahu. (AFP)

Israeli police has allegedly used spyware on the phones of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son and members of his inner circle.

An Israeli newspaper Calcalist has published a series of recent reports alleging that police used sophisticated spyware to target protesters and other Israeli citizens, prompting condemnation from across the political spectrum. 

Calcalist reported on Monday that the spyware was also used against his son, Avner, two communications advisers and the wife of another defendant in the Netanyahu's corruption case.

They are among several prominent figures to have been targeted with spyware, including business leaders, former directors of Cabinet ministries, mayors and protest organisers, Calcalist reported.

'Deep and thorough investigation'

Israel’s mostly ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog, called for a “deep and thorough investigation.”

“We must not lose our democracy. We must not lose our police. And certainly: we must not lose our public trust in them,” he said.

The police commissioner has joined those calling for an independent investigation.

The investigation should aim to “restore public trust in the Israel police on the one hand, and regulate the use of technology by the Israel police on the other,” Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said.

Authorities have not said which spyware might have been improperly used. 

Calcalist has said at least some of the cases involved the Israeli hacker-for-hire company NSO Group. 

Its flagship product, Pegasus, allows operators to seamlessly infiltrate a target’s mobile phone and gain access to the device’s contents, including real-time communications.

NSO has faced mounting scrutiny over Pegasus, which has been linked to snooping on human rights activists, journalists and politicians across the globe.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies