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NSO Group Seeks To Reclaim Immunity In WhatsApp Hack Case

The NSO Group has called on a federal appeals court to overturn the California judge's July 2020 ruling.39.jpgIsraeli spyware maker NSO Group is trying to avoid any legal repercussions from making and selling tools to hack WhatsApp users' phones.

The NSO Group filed a document with the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals claiming that US District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton made a mistake in July this year by rejecting a software company’s application for immunity from WhatsApp’s claim, which accuses a company in violation of US computer crime law by using malware to spy on human rights lawyers, journalists and political dissidents on behalf of government clients.

NSO Group has called on a federal appeals court to overturn the July 2020 ruling by a California judge and protect the company from a lawsuit for hacking the phones of more than 1,000 WhatsApp users. In its executive summary, the company reported that governments around the world are using its technology to bypass end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp in order to spy on suspects in serious criminal cases.

"Facebook-owned WhatsApp wants US courts to help block foreign counter-terrorism and law enforcement investigations," lawyers for the NSO Group at King & Spalding LLP said.

The NSO Group said Judge Hamilton's ruling “undermines foreign immunity and exposes US officials to overseas prosecution opportunities.

As a reminder, in October 2019, Facebook-owned WhatsApp filed a lawsuit against NSO Group. As reported in the statement of claim, NSO Group helped government intelligence agencies hack the phones of about 1.4 thousand users around the world. NSO Group has been accused of aiding hacks carried out on behalf of governments in 20 countries, including Mexico, the UAE and Bahrain.

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