In 2020, the journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International gained access to a leaked list of more than 50,000 phone numbers. They suspected it contained numbers selected for potential surveillance with Pegasus, a powerful spyware sold to governments around the world by the Israeli company NSO Group.

Sixteen media organizations, including FRONTLINE, joined forces with Forbidden Stories to investigate who the numbers belonged to and, with technical support from Amnesty International’s Security Lab, whether they’d been infected with the Pegasus hacking tool. A year later, the Pegasus Project reporting consortium published its stunning findings: Pegasus had been used on journalists, human rights activists, the wife and fiancée of the murdered Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and others.

Now, in a special, two-part docuseries called Global Spyware Scandal: Exposing Pegasus, FRONTLINE and Forbidden Films, the documentary arm of Forbidden Stories, reveal the inside story of the investigation that prompted probes by governments and institutions around the world and sparked calls for an international treaty to govern the largely unregulated spyware industry.

Pegasus is like a person over your shoulder — a person who will see what you are seeing, a person who would watch what you are watching, your emails, your encrypted communication, everything. So once you are infected, you’re trapped,