The final report by Deputy Attorney General Amit Marari's Commission of Inquiry into the police's use of the Pegasus spyware against Israeli citizens has concluded that there was no illegal wiretapping of the phones of citizens without a court warrant.
The investigation was carried out following a report by the Calcalist newspaper that the NSO Group's Pegasus software had been illegally used against a number of prominent people in Israel by the police. The allegations caused national outrage and sparked the formation of the Commission of Inquiry.
The investigation concluded that “No indication was found that Israel Police penetrated phones without a court warrant allowing it to do so.”
It added: “No indication was found that Israel Police penetrated the phones of individuals whose names were publicized in the media.”
However, the investigation did find deficiencies in the work of the Israel Police in relation to the use of wiretapping devices. The investigation found that police collected prohibited material from mobile phones which were not part of the warrants which had been obtained. Such material was not used as evidence.
Deputy Attorney General Marari said: "The Commission of Inquiry was established in view of serious allegations published in the media regarding the work of the Israel Police which touched the core of the rule of law in a democratic country, and were intended to undermine the public's trust in the law enforcement system, and create the sense of a violation of the fundamental rights of every person in the country."
He added: "After a thorough examination of all the allegations published on the subject, and other issues that arose during the investigation, we are publishing today the findings of the report according to which no indication was found that the police tapped mobile phones in the absence of a judicial order. At the same time, the team found that in cases where a judicial order was issued, as part of this type of wiretapping, in a wide range of cases the Israel Police received information that was not in accordance with the powers granted to it by law. Although in a sample and clarification test conducted with the professionals in the Israel Police it did not appear that this information was actually produced or used, the receipt of the excess information is a violation of authority.''
"Additional deficiencies were found which the team recommends be worked on their correction in the near future. The report details a series of issues that require improvement and regulation in the issues related to the wiretapping of communications between computers, with the aim of ensuring that the use of advanced technological tools will be within the limits of authority according to the wiretapping law. After examining the technological aspects and the purpose of wiretapping to fight crime, and paying attention to the legal position that these systems can be used for the purpose of wiretapping, we, all the members of the investigative team, were convinced that, subject to the fact that the necessary technological changes will be made that will neutralize any possibility of receiving information illegally, and that additional adjustments - technological and other - are made as detailed in the report in order to ensure this, there is room to allow for the Israel Police to resume the use of the systems.
"It is to be hoped that the findings of the report and its recommendations will be a milestone and will help the Israel Police to continue to carry out its important work in maintaining the rule of law and public order, within the framework of the powers and tools at its disposal, while paying increased attention to the rights of the individual," Marari said.