At last things are starting to get a bit complicated for NSO Group. And yes, I say finally because the only thing I do not understand is how it has taken so long to happen, well the normal thing is that this news would have occurred a long time agoSpecifically since the plethora of abuses committed with Pegasus, the espionage solution created and marketed by this company, began to come to light, which has shown on more than one occasion that money is much more important than integrity.
If you don’t remember the controversies associated with NSO Group and Pegasus, Amnesty International has denounced its activities since 2018, when our colleagues from MuySeguridad echoed the outrages that were being committed with this development. As time went by, we learned more, as it had been used in Spain, to spy on the mobile phones of Roger Torrent and Ernest Maragall.
The great revelation, however, occurred in July of this year, with the publication of Project Pegasus, an initiative that ended up making it clear that NSO Group has allowed its espionage system to be used against journalists, organizations, dissidents, politicians (including heads of state), etcetera. At that moment it seems that, finally, all the alarms that until then and surprisingly had remained silent, finally went off, putting NSO Group in the pillory.
Thus, in a decision that should have been taken a long time ago, but in which we must now enforce that of “better late than never”, The United States Department of Commerce has announced the imposition of restrictions on NSO Group, thus limiting its possibilities to use American technology, according to CNet today. And the reason given for this is the following:
«[NSO Group] developed and supplied spyware to foreign governments who used these tools to maliciously attack government officials, journalists, businessmen, activists. academics and embassy employees«. It is also stated in the statement that the group has helped foreign governments to carry out actions that may have threatened the international order.
In its response to actions taken by the US Department of Commerce, NSO Group officials have said they are dismayed by this decision, which they hope is reversible, «We look forward to presenting comprehensive information on how we have the world’s most rigorous human rights and compliance programs that are based on deeply shared American values, which have already resulted in multiple terminations of contacts with government agencies that misused our products.«.
Thus, the defense put forward by NSO Group is that they are not responsible for the misuse of Pegasus, but its customers. However, and as we have already indicated at the beginning of this news, the outrages committed with Pegasus go back years, and it does not seem that the company has taken too many actions on the matter, in light of the multiple complaints that have surfaced during all this years. At a minimum, your responsibility in watching seems pretty clear.