Lawsuits target NSO Group for selling spyware to governments targeting activists and journalists


In August 2018, two lawsuits, were filed against NSO Group, one brought in Israel by a Qatari citizen and the other in Cyprus by Mexican journalists and activists. All the plaintiffs had been targeted by the company's Pegasus spyware, which takes control of targets' phones when they click on links sent via carefully crafted phishing messages. The company claims that it sells the technology to governments on condition that they use it exclusively against criminals and it is not responsible for illegal surveillance they they conduct. Leaked documents and emails submitted as part of the lawsuits challenge this claim, showing that in at least one case the company showed off its capabilities to make a sale by sending two recordings of calls made by Abdulaziz Alkhamis, the editor of a London-based newspaper, to top Emirati officials considering paying for an update. After the Pegasus spyware was discovered in 2016, Apple announced that an update had patched the vulnerabilities it exploited.

Writer: David D. Kirkpatrick and Azam Ahmed
Publication: New York Times

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