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29 Okt 2019

Access Now

Civil society once again targeted by spyware attributed to NSO Group

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An investigation conducted by WhatsApp and Citizen Lab revealed that a total of 1400+ individuals were targeted, out of whom over 100 have already been identified as members of civil society (human rights defenders, activists, journalists). The investigation found enough evidence to attribute the attack to NSO Group...This is not the first time NSO Group spyware has been found to target members of the civil society. Access Now and other NGOs have repeatedly denounced the lack of human rights protections and safeguards for the products NSO sells... 

Governments hold the primary duty to prevent and remedy violations of human rights involving private companies. Israel, where NSO Group is headquartered, and the U.K., where its owner Novalpina is based, must take immediate action to forestall more violations... In this case, the direct burden falls on the spyware vendors to change their ways... we also call on large platforms to review their policies and engage their... teams to assist civil society and government in keeping users safe and identifying, attributing, and mitigating threats posed by other companies. Working with Citizen Lab to investigate the attacks, giving notice to its users, and taking legal action, WhatsApp has set a strong precedent in this case that we can build on with the entire sector. 

Part of the following timelines

WhatsApp sues Israeli cyber surveillance company NSO Group, accusing it of hacking the phones of human rights activists & journalists

NSO Group lawsuit (re hacking WhatsApp users)