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15 Jan 2020

Times of Israel staff

Amnesty to petition for revoking of export license of Israeli spyware firm NSO

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Amnesty International said... it will petition the courts to revoke the export license of NSO Group, an Israeli firm... [that] is being used to violate civil rights around the world... NSO Group’s best-known product is Pegasus, a highly invasive tool that can reportedly switch on a target’s smartphone camera and microphone, and access data on it. There have been numerous claims that NSO Group software is being used to hack government officials, journalists and dissidents across the globe... 

“NSO continues to profit from its spyware being used to commit abuses against activists across the world and the Israeli government has stood by and watched it happen,” charged Danna Ingleton, deputy director of Amnesty Tech... The Ministry of Defense must not be allowed to hide behind a veil of secrecy when it comes to human rights abuses.”... The Defense Ministry declined to comment on Amnesty’s case... Also in November [2019], Reuters reported that senior government and military officials from some 20 countries allied with the United States were targeted, citing people familiar with WhatsApp’s internal investigation... In December 2018 Amnesty International said an employee was targeted with NSO Group surveillance software... The Israeli firm has said it only licenses its software to governments for “fighting crime and terror.”