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NSO backs international spyware regulations

i24NEWS

clock 2 min read

This studio photographic illustration shows a smartphone with the website of Israel's NSO Group featuring 'Pegasus' spyware, on display in Paris on July 21, 2021.
Joel Saget/AFPThis studio photographic illustration shows a smartphone with the website of Israel's NSO Group featuring 'Pegasus' spyware, on display in Paris on July 21, 2021.

Scandal-hit NSO takes allegations 'extremely seriously'

NSO Group, the Israeli technology firm responsible for the Pegasus spyware, said on Tuesday that it would support international regulation to prevent governments from exploiting powerful spyware, like its own. 

In a letter to the United Nations from the company's chairman Asher Levy, the NSO Group expressed "strong support for the creation of an international legal framework" to govern highly invasive technology used for tracking and surveillance.

NSO was subject to controversy in July following the publication of the Pegasus Project, a report that indicated that tens of thousands of activists, journalists, and political dissidents worldwide may have been targets of Pegasus software.

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The Pegasus spyware, when implemented in a device, allows the user to read the target's messages, look through photos, track location and even turn on the camera and microphone discreetly. 

Levy said in the letter that NSO took the allegations made by international media outlets "extremely seriously" and that they had launched an immediate investigation following the scandal in July. Such was apparent when the firm temporarily blocked several government clients from using the military-grade malware. 

The letter further suggests that companies in the sector should be forced to have human rights compliance systems in place.

Israeli officials visited the offices of NSO in Herzliya, Tel Aviv in July to assess the potential misuse. NSO cooperated fully, according to a company employee, to prove that those named in the Pegasus Project were not linked to NSO. 

NSO says it has 60 customers in 40 different countries, all of which are intelligence agencies, law enforcement bodies, and militaries.