United Nations officials are calling for an investigation into reports that Saudi Arabia has repeatedly used targeted surveillance to monitor and influence perceived enemies of the kingdom.
A UN report published Wednesday was based on research from independent experts Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on summary executions and extrajudicial killings, and David Kaye, UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression.
The alleged hacking of Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report Chief Executive Jeff Bezos’s phone and the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and a columnist for the Washington Post, prompted the report. Bezos owns the newspaper.
"The circumstances and timing of the hacking and surveillance of Bezos also strengthen support for further investigation by U.S. and other relevant authorities of the allegations that the crown prince ordered, incited or, at a minimum, was aware of planning for but failed to stop the mission that fatally targeted Mr. Khashoggi in Istanbul,” Wednesday’s report states.
The report notes that while the country said that it was investigating the killing of Khashoggi and prosecuting those it said were responsible, it was actually waging a massive online campaign against Bezos and Amazon while “targeting him principally as the owner of the Washington Post.”
On Wednesday, a report in the Guardian stated that Bezos's phone was the target of a malware attack that originated from a message sent from the personal WhatsApp account of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The intrusion enabled the Saudis to extract “large amounts of data” from the device within hours, according to the Guardian’s sources. These revelations were found after the phone went through a digital forensic analysis.
Saudi Arabia officially denied the allegations made in the report.