A very important article from the Times starts with the following sentence:
Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group.
In the U.S., there is a disconnect between a populace whose distrust of government is at an all-time high and the same people whose trust of the same government's handling of their private data has apparently been unshaken.
NSO, the company being profiled, claims to have an "ethics" committee to determine whom they will sell (out) and whom they won't. It's not clear whether this "ethics" committee vets the methods used by NSO to collect data, such as "baiting targets to click unwittingly on texts containing malicious links".
This bit is also interesting:
Pegasus [the surveillance system] can use the camera to take snapshots or screen grabs. It can deny the phone access to certain websites and applications, and it can grab search histories or anything viewed with the phone’s web browser. And all of the data can be sent back to the agency’s server in real time.
What might make it easier for others to remote control your gadget life? More connected devices (e.g. internet of things), putting stuff in the cloud, simple user interfaces that hide inner functions, always-on connections, auto-updating, real-time anything, never logging out of accounts, etc. etc. Basically, anything that allows software to establish connections to remote servers without identifying itself.