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Article

1 Mar 2021

Author:
Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

USA: DoJ lawyers have approached WhatsApp with “technical questions” in reported development in NSO Group lawsuit

"Israeli spyware firm NSO Group faces renewed US scrutiny", 1 March 2020

NSO Group appears to be facing renewed scrutiny by the US Department of Justice months after leading technology companies said the spyware maker was “powerful and dangerous” and should be held liable to the country’s anti-hacking laws.

DoJ lawyers recently approached the messaging app WhatsApp with technical questions about the alleged targeting of 1,400 of its users by NSO Group’s government clients in 2019, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

NSO Group was reportedly facing an FBI investigation in early 2020. People familiar with the matter said it had seemed to stall, but that the DoJ was showing renewed interest in the case.

It is not clear which suspected hacking targets DoJ investigators are examining or what phase the investigation is in.

WhatsApp declined to comment. NSO Group said it was not aware of an investigation.

... A US appeal court judge will soon decide whether NSO Group should be granted sovereign immunity in the civil case WhatsApp brought against it.

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