Pegasus, the spyware developed by cyberarms firm NSO Group, can be covertly installed on mobile phones and other devices running most versions of iOS and Android. It can read text messages, track calls, collect passwords, track the target device’s location, access its microphone and camera, and harvest information from apps. The spyware, which was developed in Israel, is used by authorities all over the world, as well as in Israel, and has raised the alarm against unlawful infringement of privacy. In my opinion, the problem is not the spyware, but the spying, the foul intentions of those who use technology to harm, manipulate, and abuse others.
The fact that such spyware exists does not surprise me. It is clear that governors and government officials are not saints and that they do anything they can to know as much as they can about each other so they can manipulate and control others more easily and gain more power.
We need to recognize that our society is broken. The way the government operates simply reflects the society from which the governors come. The same goes for law enforcement and the justice system in general. If a society is corrupt and filled with people who wish to hurt and overpower one another, we cannot expect its representatives to be any different.
It has been this way for decades. What started with wiretapping and other forms of surveillance has simply adapted itself to today’s technology, but in essence, nothing fundamental has changed. This is why it is not the spyware that is hurting us, but the spying we constantly do on each other.
When parents look after their children and want to know their whereabouts, they are not “spying” on them; they are looking after their loved ones. But when strangers or authorities do the same thing, it is spying because their intentions are to hurt or manipulate us. In other words, the problem is not with the software but with its operators.
If we want to “correct” Pegasus and other malware, we need to correct the mal-will that is operating them, namely human nature. The malice we harbor for each other is the root of all evil, not only Pegasus, but everything we do that is intended to hurt, harm, manipulate, exploit, and overpower other people, and the whole world, if possible. If we do not correct the root of the problem, namely ourselves, we will not be able to correct anything.
As a first step toward correcting our root, we need to acknowledge that we are as rotten as our actions toward each other. Here, transparency and courage are key. If we are unwilling to look at ourselves in the mirror, we will not advance toward fixing anything in society. We will have to wait until enough malpractice surfaces to convince us that we must correct not the practice or the practitioners’ tools, but the practitioners themselves.
Once we, all of society or at least its majority, accept that we are the problem and not what we use to satisfy our ill-will, we can begin to work on ourselves. This is when we will begin to examine ourselves instead of blaming others for our woes.
When we shift the focus from others to ourselves, we will begin to see that we are just as bad as everyone else. It will not be just one or two people going through a process of revealing their evil selves. It will be a process where all of society realizes this. As a result, people will begin to change their attitude toward others from wanting to exploit them to wanting to support them.
The realization process may take a long time, but the transition from an exploitative attitude to a supportive one can be very quick. After all, there is nothing that we need to do here; it is only a matter of changing the intention behind our actions, and changing the intention can happen as quickly as our thoughts change.
Therefore, the most important phase in our correction is happening right now. The sooner we expose the wickedness of human nature, and the more profoundly we acknowledge that this is who we are, the sooner and easier will be the shift from bad intentions to good ones, from spying on each other to caring for each other.