Google and Microsoft demand to prosecute Israeli spyware developer

Tech companies are calling for the Israeli company NSO Group to be held accountable under US anti-hacking laws.


Tech giants Microsoft and Google have joined Facebook's legal battle against Israeli hacker company NSO.

The statement, which was filed with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, opens a new front in Facebook's lawsuit against NSO, which was filed in 2019. The NSO claims that because it sells digital hacking tools to police and spy agencies, it should enjoy "sovereign immunity."

The lawsuit was filed last year because analysts at the WhatsApp messenger (part of Facebook, Inc.) concluded that approximately 1,400 of their customers received malware sent by the defendant firm. There have also been reports in the media that spyware from an Israeli company is being used to target journalists in India, politicians in Spain and human rights defenders in Morocco.

Thus, according to WhatsApp, in 2019, about a hundred civil activists around the world became victims of NSO attacks. As a result, in July of this year, a court in California began to consider Facebook's claim.

NSO claims its products are used to combat crime. But human rights activists and technologists at places like Toronto's Citizen Lab and London-based Amnesty International have documented cases where NSO technology has been used to harass reporters, lawyers.


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