Pegasus and Privacy

August 01, 2023 by Elio Grieco


For this meeting, we are back in Room SO1330 of the South Building at GateWay Community College, Washington Campus. Details below.

Schedule: Mon, August 7th, 2023, 6:00-9:00pm MST

  • 6:00 - 6:30pm: Networking and Food
  • 6:30 - 6:40pm: Meeting Start and Announcements
  • 6:40 - 7:00pm: Cyber Threat Updates by Erik Graham
  • 7:10 - 8:00pm: Pegasus & the Phantom Menace It Left Behind by Christina Eichelkraut
  • 8:10 - 8:45pm: Android Privacy Tips by Elio Grieco
  • 8:45 - 9:00pm: Wrap Up and Networking

Topic 1: Pegasus & the Phantom Menace It Left Behind

The U.S. Government recently banned the use of Pegasus, surveillance software developed by the Israeli firm NSO. The decision came on the heels of the discovery that 50 U.S. Government officials were surveilled by the no-click spyware.

However, the global cybersurveillance industry continues to thrive, often being used to attack journalists, lawyers, human rights advocates and dissidents of autocratic regimes. Yet it is also used to effectively break up child trafficking rings, capture drug lords and prevent large-scale terrorist attacks.

This conversation will discuss what Pegasus is, where it came from and how it influences major geopolitical outcomes. We'll briefly touch on what is at stake in a world where private privacy interests increasingly conflict with the modern methods used for legitimate intelligence gathering efforts. And, we'll examine how the blurring the lines between the private and public sectors particularly lends itself to abuse. Finally, we'll cover what is being done by the U.S. and other countries.

Slides as pdf or pptx.

Further Reading

Topic 2: Android Privacy Tips

While the fight against military grade spyware is long and slow, there are some relatively simple steps that can be taken to improve your privacy and harden your Android phone against more modest threats.

Why aren't we covering Apple? Well, Apple does not allow modification of their devices via either hardware or software. If you have an Apple device, you are limited to the hardening and security mitigations that they have provided.

We'll cover what you can protect and the limits of said protection for:

  • network traffic
  • location data
  • eavesdropping (visual and auditory)
  • Android permissions
  • permissions that are more dangerous than they seem e.g. the accelerometer
  • a few side channels

As well as more permanent solutions:

  • physical blocking
  • privacy front-ends
  • chaffing (data pools)
  • open source hardware and software to prevent or slow enshittification
  • legislative solutions and their limits

Attend Virtually

Zoom meeting starts at: 6:15 PM MST (Arizona time)

Join the Zoom Meeting via computer or mobile:

Or call in via phone:
Meeting ID: 944 8607 3474
Passcode: 292977

One tap mobile
+16699009128,,93164774726#,,,,*292977# US (San Jose)
+17193594580,,93164774726#,,,,*292977# US

Local call-in numbers are available:

Attend in Person

Room SO1330 of the South Building at GateWay Community College, Washington Campus.

108 N 40th St,
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Map link to the Exact Location

Parking Map

Map of campus and parking options at Gateway Community College

South Building Map

Floorplan for the South Building and room SO1330 at Gateway Community College


Free pizza and soft drinks will be provided to all attendees. If you have other preferences, Speedy Street Tacos is within walking distance, just past the East parking lot. There are also a few other restaurants within a short drive of the college.

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