Masimov spied on strangers and on his own

It recently emerged that the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan installed spyware on the phones of major political and public figures both within the country and abroad.

This activity was initiated under the former head of the National Security Committee, Karim Masimov, who is currently serving an 18-year sentence for high treason. Initially, this software was installed on the smartphones of people who really threatened the national security of the country: terrorists or those who profess non-traditional movements of Islam, and so on. But Karim Masimov could not resist the temptation; first, the list of infected phones included journalists Serikzhan Mauletbay and Bigeldy Gabdullin, human rights activist Bakhytzhan Toregozhina, then those on the Forbes list, then ex-Prime Minister Askar Mamin, former akim of Almaty Bakytzhan Sagintayev, and so on.

But the cherry on the cake for Karim Masimov was the one whom he had to protect in the first place – the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Surely this wiretapping played a role in the January events of 2022, but then, they say, this program was no longer used in Kazakhstan.

We are talking about the Pegasus program, which has been used in Kazakhstan for more than a year. The program was developed in Israel; it was originally created to fight criminals and terrorists, but it is often used to monitor oppositionists, journalists or politicians. It is almost impossible to protect yourself from it – you receive a call, you don’t even have to pick up the phone, the program downloads itself and starts working. It transfers all user data to the initiator: messages, passwords, calls, search engine queries, access to the camera and microphone.

Now it is clear why Karim Masimov, in all his positions, so advocated for the digitalization of the public administration system – who owns the information, owns the world. The ex-head of the National Security Committee knew this very well and, even before his arrest, he copied and hid somewhere a complete information base collected by the intelligence services over many years and relating to almost everyone who in one way or another held public positions in Kazakhstan, was noticeable in business, or was of interest to the security services for some reason. – for some (no matter criminal or other) reasons.

By the way, the person in charge of the base, Azamat Ibraev, the head of the technical service of the KNB, and previously the head of the Department of Internal Security of the KNB, committed suicide immediately after Masimov’s arrest. Why not a spy thriller?