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27 Jan 2020

All Classics News

Israel: Amnesty International files suit against NSO Group for alleged hacking of activists through WhatsApp

"Amnesty International is suing the Israeli firm that experts say might have helped Saudi Arabia hack Bezos’s phone," 22 Jan 2020

The technology company has drawn the attention of human rights and privacy advocates, who are seeking to rein in its practices.

Israeli human rights lawyer Eitay Mack is one of them. He’s part of a team suing Israel’s Ministry of Defense to revoke NSO’s export license to limit the company’s right to sell its signature spyware abroad.

“It’s our responsibility that surveillance systems that claim to be for targeting terrorist or criminal organizations will not be used for human rights violations,” Mack said.

The suit, brought this month in partnership with London-based Amnesty International and other human rights groups, alleges that NSO’s “Pegasus software has been used to target journalists and activists across the globe — including in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates,” according to Amnesty International...

Both the company and the Ministry of Defense have declined to comment on the case. NSO does not reveal its clients, although experts say they include Middle Eastern and Latin American countries.

Part of the problem, Mack said, is that governments can choose to paint any opposition as terrorism. “In many countries around the world, the definition of terrorist is someone supporting democracy or human rights or indigenous rights,” he said...

“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,” Danna Ingleton, deputy director of Amnesty Tech, said in a statement.