One name jumps out among the diverse array of characters whose numbers appear on a list of individuals chosen by NSO Group’s client countries as particularly ironic.
Pavel Durov, the mysterious Russian-born software mogul who made a name for himself by developing an unhackable messaging program, discovers his own phone number on the list.
Durov, 36, is the inventor of Telegram, a messaging app with over 500 million users.
Telegram provides end-to-end encrypted communications, as well as the ability to create “channels” to quickly broadcast information to followers.
It’s become popular among individuals who want to avoid governments’ prying eyes, whether they’re criminals, terrorists, or demonstrators fighting for their rights.
In recent years, Durov has publicly rubbished the security standards of competitors, particularly WhatsApp, which he has claimed is “dangerous” to use.
By contrast, he has positioned Telegram as a plucky upstart determined to safeguard the privacy of its users at all costs.