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22 Dec 2020

Stephanie Kirchgaessner, The Guardian

USA: Leading technology firms call NSO spyware "dangerous", file legal brief in WhatsApp suit against company

"NSO Group spyware 'dangerous', say tech firms in legal filing", 22 Dec 2020

Spyware made by NSO Group is “powerful and dangerous” and the Israeli company should be held liable to US anti-hacking laws, Google, Microsoft, Cisco and other leading technology companies have said in a rare joint legal filing.

An amicus brief filed by the companies in support of WhatsApp, which has sued NSO Group in the US, appears to mark a major turning point in the popular messaging app’s legal fight against the Israeli spyware firm, and has sent a strong signal that the world’s biggest technology companies are rallying against the proliferation of hacking tools made by private companies.

... NSO Group is now arguing before a US appeal court that it ought to have complete immunity from US anti-hacking laws because it works on behalf of unnamed sovereign government clients.

In their rare joint amicus brief filed to an appeal court on Monday night, Google, Microsoft, and others argued against NSO’s appeal, and ... said that the consequences of an “immunised and expanded” spyware industry would mean that more foreign governments would have access to “powerful and dangerous” cybersurveillance tools.

NSO Group has been approached for comment.